A door or gate is left open and your pet darts outside. You dropped your dog’s leash and now he’s running down the street. It is a scary thing to lose one’s pet and with some prevention tips and these steps below, hopefully you will quickly and safely recover your lost pet. (Found a lost pet? Click here)
1. Search your neighborhood or the area where your pet was lost and let people know she’s missing. Call your pet’s name and check any places she could have become trapped, such as in basements or garages or under vehicles. A lost pet often will hide during the day, so be sure to go out again at night with a flashlight and call for her.
2. Contact Cobb County Animal Services (770-499-4136) immediately to report the exact street address where you last saw your pet. You also can file a Lost Pet Report here. Next Door also has a network of neighbors where you can post in the Lost and Found section so others can keep an eye out and let you know if they’ve seen your pet.
3. Is your dog or cat microchipped? If so, be sure to call your microchip company and report your pet missing. When calling, ensure that your contact information on file with the company is correct.
4.Check with your local shelters every day. Don’t just call — also visit the shelters to search for your pet. Many animals are difficult to describe over the phone, and only you really know what your pet looks like. Cobb County Animal Services also has an online pet search so you can see what animals are at the shelter.
5. Some animals can roam surprisingly far, so call all animal control agencies in your town and surrounding areas. Animal control officers work through the police department and pick up stray animals. Call them or check their shelters at least every two days.
6. Use your pet’s photo to make “lost pet” signs. Put them up in your neighborhood and in post offices, libraries, pet supply stores, veterinary offices, and grocery stores. Hand out flyers to residents in the area where your pet was last seen. If you receive calls of sightings, extend this to those areas. Put flyers on poles (where allowed), near mailboxes, bus stops, park benches …anywhere where groups of people frequent. Put flyers in business windows in the town where your pet was seen and in at least one nearby town. It is likely your pet will travel. Give flyers to postal employees in the area.
7. Inform your veterinarian and groomer that your pet is lost in case they receive a call.
8. Respond immediately to any phone calls regarding sightings. Some people may call and say they saw the dog or cat “2 hours ago”. Though the pet may have moved on, check that area anyway. It’s a clue to where he/she might be.
9. Place ads in local newspapers and offer a reward in case someone found your pet and was thinking of keeping her. Watch the found ads. Respond to any that might be close to your pet’s description. A week of wandering the streets can make white pets look drab gray, and the ad’s description might not exactly fit.
10. Submit your pet to online missing pet websites such as Pet Key.
Lost Pet Prevention
There are some things you can do to prevent losing a pet or at least make it easier to recover a lost pet.
1. If you have a dog known for its wandering ways and disappearing acts (certain breeds such as Siberian Huskies are known escape artists), be sure to train your dog to “wait” at doorways and getting in and out of the car. A dog taught to wait, will not as easily bolt if a door is opened. Teaching your dog an emergency “recall” command can literally be a lifesaver. This recall should only be used in emergencies (but you will need to practice) and if taught properly, many dogs will respond even if there is a squirrel running across the street. Need help in training your dog? Go to APDT.com to search for a certified trainer in your area or ask for recommendations from dog owners you trust.
2. Get a collar and ID tag for your pet. Be sure it has your pet’s name and at least one phone number where you can be contacted. Include a cell phone number for times you may travel with your pet. Many cats can get used to a collar if given time and practice – and treats don’t hurt.
3. Have your pet microchipped. Most local vets will do this for a nominal fee. Many shelters will microchip pets for adoption. This is especially important if you have a pet that hates wearing a collar. And be sure to register that microchip so the company has your current contact information.
4. Properly secure your pet at home.
– Have a cat or dog that gets skittish when company arrives? Put the cat in a carrier or dog in a crate with treats
(during the times people are coming and going) or in a secure room.
– Don’t leave dogs in fenced yards unattended. Dogs left to their own devices for long periods of time will get bored
and possibly look for a way out, usually by digging or jumping a fence. Be sure you have a fence high enough to
prevent a larger dog from jumping over it.
5. Properly secure your pet while out.
— Make sure you have a properly fitting collar for your pet. A dog or cat can slip out of a loose collar. Thinly
constructed flex-leashes can easily break.
— Make sure to transport your cat in a carrier. Be sure the latches are in good working order and properly secured.
— Keep your dog on leash while out. Ideally transport your dog in a travel crate. If your dog is not in a crate,
knowing the “wait” command will prevent your dog from bolting as soon as you open the car door.