What To Do When Your Pet Comes Up Missing

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What To Do When Your Pet Comes Up Missing

December 23, 2013

GREETINGS FROM P-Z NEWS!

A LOST PET IS TRAUMATIC FOR BOTH PET AND PET OWNER.  SO WHAT TO DO WHEN FLUFFY OR FIDO COMES UP MISSING? 

 

CONDUCT A SEARCH.  NOW.   NOT LATER.

 

STATISTICALLY, SEARCHING YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD IS YOUR BEST BET IN FINDING A LOST PET.  AS SOON AS YOUR PET COMES UP MISSING START CANVASING THE NEIGHBORHOOD, KNOCKING ON YOUR NEIGHBORS’ DOORS AND POSTING FLIERS. ODDS ARE, SOMEONE HAS SEEN AND MAYBE EVEN RESCUED YOUR PET.  FORTY PERCENT OF AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS HAVE PETS AND MOST LIKELY A NEIGHBOR HAS TAKEN IN YOUR PET FOR SAFEKEEPING, PARTICULARLY IF THE PET HAS A COLLAR AND AN ID TAG.

 

ANIMAL SHELTERS ARE THE PLACE OF LAST RESORT FOR PETS WITHOUT ID TAGS, KIND NEIGHBORS OR DETERMINED PET OWNERS POUNDING THE PAVEMENT.  IT COULD TAKE WEEKS BEFORE YOUR LOST PET ENDS UP IN A SHELTER.

 

THE MORAL OF THE STORY? A COLLAR AND AN ID TAG ARE STILL THE BEST INSURANCE FOR A ROUND-TRIP TICKET HOME FOR YOUR PET.

THIS IS WALTER K. HUNT SIGNING OFF...AND THAT’S THE WAY IT SMELLS.

 

OK, your beloved dog or cat is missing. You’ve canvassed the neighborhood, put up flyers and cried yourself to sleep.  What to do?  Start all over again. But first ask yourself,  WHY DO PETS RUN AWAY AND WHERE DO THEY OFTEN GO? What was the stimulus?  If your pet is not spayed or neutered they may be answering sexual urges. (Just another reason to take care of this ahead of time).  If you have moved recently they may be looking (and in some cases, find) their former homes.  Curiosity if doors, windows or gates are left open.  Or a sudden loud noise or disturbance that frightens them, particularly if they are left unattended in your vehicle (more on that later).

 

Where do they go? How big and strong is your dog?  Big, strong dogs can run 5 miles.  Small dogs, 1/2 mile at most.  Remember, most dogs are recovered within a 2 mile circle of their home, especially because they rarely run in a straight line. Most likely your pet is at a neighbor’s. Since over 40% of most people have or have had a pet, they are sympathetic to an obviously lost animal and take them in.  And how would they know how to contact you?  An ID tag with your current information.  Sounds so simple in hindsight, but too many pet owners skip this important and extremely effective way of recovering their pet.

 

Check vets, pet shops, kennels, even groomers.  People who have found pets who aren’t equipped to keep them (no yards, the elderly, etc.) often take the animal to one of these locations. Rarely do these people actually keep your pet.  They want it found as well.


Think about the most likely place your animal would find comfort and food.  A school yard.  A nearby house your dog is familiar with.  Think about all the people who live inside the circle of distance your dog can travel and ask them.

 

Ask/alert the regular service people in the neighborhood.  Lawn care, gas meter readers, FedX & UPS, the mailman.  These folks cover a lot of ground and could help greatly in spotting your animal.


If your pet has escaped from a car your job is much larger.  It could have been picked up by anyone and driven to the next county in less than an hour in any direction.  Please, please reconsider leaving your animals unattended in a vehicle if you don’t want to lose them.  You would be beyond surprised at how a large frightened animal can wriggle out of what looks like a small cracked window.

 

Get online.  Many shelters are on the Internet and maintain a list of found pets, some even include a photo.  Send them your fliers, they will almost always post it so employees can keep an eye out.  Remember, contact in every direction for at least 5 miles, more if your pet was not lost near your home. Check the shelters and KEEP checking the shelters.  It may be many days before your pet ends up there.

 

PREVENTION

We may live in a high tech world but some of the most effective tools are the most basic.

Tags - Current ID and your information including your cell and e-mail.  This is the first and most effective line of defense to getting your pet back.

 

Microchip - Vets and shelters can now read these IDs which are planted under the skin between the shoulder blades.  Again, make sure your data is up to date or they could call your old cell number.

 

Good fences.  Good gates.  Good windows.  Good doors.  Close them and test them to make SURE they’re closed.

 

Take pictures of your pets digitally.  It can shave hours off having Lost Posters made.


Be especially careful if you have added a new human or 4-footer to your family or have recently moved.  Animals are sensitive and these are disruptions that they need time and supervision to adjust to.


REMEMBER, most pets don't run away.  For those who do, only a fraction fall into harm’s way.  Most are returned to their owners within 24 hours.  pz

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