Your pet is lost….now what?

Have you ever wondered what you would do if your pet was suddenly lost or stolen? The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Understandably, this is very difficult because our pets are beloved members of our family and we don’t want any harm to come to them.


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  • create a weatherproof “lost pet” sign
  • contact your local animal control office daily
  • distribute “lost pet” fliers to others
  • keep searching no matter what
  • ensure that your contact information is current

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  • enter private property without permission
  • believe everything you hear
  • give the reward blindly
  • call for your pet while searching
  • assume all tips are legitimate

Tim Link‘s recommendation to ExpertBeacon readers: Do

Do create a weatherproof “lost pet” sign

It is important to post laminated “lost pet” signs around your neighborhood. They need to be laminated so that they aren’t ruined the first time it rains. At the top of the sign, list REWARD in bold letters without an amount. The reason for not listing an amount is if they think you will offer more money the longer your pet is gone, they may hold out for additional money. Next, put a large color photo of your pet followed by your mobile phone number. Most people will only have a short time to read your sign. If the sign or the print is too small for drivers to read from their cars, then they won’t pay as much attention to it.

Do contact your local animal control office daily

Leave a “missing pet” flier at your local animal control office. Return each day to do this until your pet is found. This is very important because, unfortunately, these facilities are not allowed to house animals for very long (sometimes just days) once they are brought into the system. So, talking with everyone at your local animal control office on a daily basis is essential. In addition, these facilities often use volunteers. These volunteers can also change on a daily basis. So, who you spoke to yesterday may not be there today.

Do distribute “lost pet” fliers to others

In addition to distributing “lost pet” fliers to nearby veterinarian’s offices, groomers, dog daycare facilities and your neighbors, also provide them to drivers with regular routes in the area. This includes mail carriers, trash collectors, school bus drivers and delivery truck drivers. The more people you have looking for your lost pet the better.

Do keep searching no matter what

Actively keep searching for your lost animal no matter how much time has elapsed. Lost animals have been known to turn up weeks, months or years after they went missing. So, as long as they are alive, there is always hope of being reunited with them.

Do ensure that your contact information is current

If your pet is micro-chipped, contact the issuing company. Ensure their files contain your current contact information.

Tim Link‘s professional advice to ExpertBeacon readers: Don't

Do not enter private property without permission

Always seek permission to enter private property to search for your pet. Not everyone is comfortable with strangers trespassing on their property even if you are simply searching for your missing pet.

Do not believe everything you hear

Don't assume someone has your pet because someone else says they do. Unless you actually see your pet at an individual’s home, don’t assume that a pet someone else saw is yours. Many pets look alike.

Do not give the reward blindly

Be sure not to mention or give the reward without proof they have your pet. Never mention the reward amount to a caller or, more importantly, give the reward to someone without seeing your pet. Unfortunately, there are many people that simply want the reward money and they may not actually have your pet.

Do not call for your pet while searching

Unless you see your pet while conducting your search, please do not call for them while you are searching your neighborhood. The reason for this is if they do happen to hear you, you would be gone by the time they reached your location. Instead, either call for them from the front or back of your home. If you drive around looking for them, look silently.

Do not assume all tips are legitimate

As hard as it is to believe, not everyone loves animals. So, you may get a lot of prank phone calls or calls that lead to dead ends. But, it is important to follow up with those callers that do have credible information.


While no one can guarantee that a missing animal will be reunited with their family, I have been fortunate to be part of many amazing stories about four-legged friends which I assisted. These include Madison, the cat who jumped from her fourth-story apartment window and, after being on her own for three weeks, was reunited with her family. Then there was Sam, a yellow tabby cat who was missing for 14 months before being reunited with his family. Most recently, I helped BB’s family find him in a barn that I had pinpointed from afar. BB was a 2-pound, 18-year old blind Yorkie.

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