Losing a pet is a scary experience. However, the statistics of finding your lost pet are on your side. According to the ASPCA, about 6.5 million pets are turned over to local animal shelters in the United States. Interestingly, dogs only slightly edge out cats in this number. There are about 3.3 million dogs turned over to shelters and 3.2 million cats. Over 700,000 lost pets that enter shelters are eventually returned to their owners. Now here’s the striking difference: dogs are about six times more likely to be found than cats. Why? Well, the ASPCA does not give any background information behind it but one reason might be because cats are less recognizable than dogs and less likely to have a collar. Here are some good tips for finding your pet. Do these in order for best results.
1. Canvas the Neighborhood
The first instinct when losing a pet is to make a sign and post it everywhere. It’s definitely an important step but it can wait. Your first best bet is to talk with your neighbors in at least a 3 house radius. Surprisingly, most pets don’t always wander off as far as you’d think. If your pet doesn’t have a collar, one of these neighbors might have taken your pet in. Of course you could increase the house radius before putting up signs.
2. Make A Post on Your City or Area’s Lost Pet Facebook Page
In 2018, this really goes a long way. This step is so high because of its increasingly high success rate. There are many selfless people out there that care about pets and devote much of their free-time to helping people reunite with their furry friends. This is also the point where you need to think of a reward. Some people add one but many don’t. There’s not any real concrete evidence on what amount to offer. But there are some hard and fast rules to go by: If you can afford one – do it! If you have a type of breed where you suspect theft – definitely add a reward.
Make sure to use several photos on the Facebook page post and be as descriptive as possible. Include the names of all nearby neighborhoods and cross streets. This could make it stick out to people a bit more! They may not know the name of your neighborhood but are more likely to read through your post if you name theirs. Be careful, though – even though you’re anxious to find your pet you need to make sure to follow the Facebook page’s guidelines. Many of them will remove your post if it does not follow a certain format or if you spam your information. Make sure to look through the existing posts and make sure that yours hasn’t been found by someone on the page.
3. Go to the Shelter
Don’t just call – make a trip to the shelter. Describing a tabby cat over the phone is easy, but knowing that it’s your cat is hard for someone on the other end to do. Only you and your family really know if its your pet. This goes for dogs, too. Shelters are busy places and important details about your pet can get lost in translation. Bring them several full-color pictures of your pet to keep to make sure they know to keep an eye out for your furry friend. You should also consider calling regional shelters, depending on how far your pet wandered and the amount of time that has lapsed. It might be a good idea to pay them a visit, too, if you live in a large city.
4. Create Heavy-Duty Full Color Flyers
Don’t be one of those owners that has a black-and-white photo with small font and few details. You need to get a heavy-duty card stock paper that has multiple photos on it. It would be a great idea to get it laminated, too. We’ve all seen those electric poles and signposts plastered with a lost pet sign, only to fade and wither away after a couple days because of outside conditions. This is obviously limited to budget but the more details on your sign, the better. Canva has some great lost dog or lost cat sign templates.
5. Repeat Steps 1-4
Really, this is all you can do for now. You would be surprised at how many people might see your pet but forget to call. Maybe during the first go-round, you talked to the afternoon shift person at the local gas station when the morning person spotted your pet. The same goes for different neighbors at different houses. Try knocking or going to the shelter at a different time than before. Follow every single lead and keep checking in. If you find you lost furry friend, make sure to remove the signs and Facebook post, alert your neighbors, and alert the shelter to not be alarmed any longer.
For greater peace of mind in the future, consider checking out our 2018 GPS dog collar buyer’s guide.