Finding a Lost Pet

Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 10:15am

More pets are lost on the Fourth of July than any other time of year. It’s a heartbreaking scenario for pet parents, but swift action and major networking can increase the odds that you will be reunited with your cat or dog.

We recently surveyed more than 1,000 households with pets across the country to find out if they had lost a dog or cat in the past five years—and if they did, did they find that pet and where did they look?

Of those pet guardians surveyed, 15 percent had lost a dog or a cat in the past five years, and 85 percent of those lost dogs and cats were recovered.

The study's findings suggest the following are key when recovering a lost pet:

  • Searching immediately when one knows the pet is lost;
  • Searching within the neighborhood first through visual searches as well as posters and online; and
  • Checking local shelters from the first day your pet is lost.

If your pet is lost, it’s important not to panic. Enlist the help of all of your friends and neighbors and hit the streets! Read our extended article on Finding a Lost Pet for more information and helpful hints.

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S. Barber

Lots of good ideas - here are a few for dogs I don't see.1 Apparently the majority of dogs don't actually go farther than a mile of their homes. They get going and lose steam and try to find a shady sheltered spot, like a shed, to lay low in. So keep doing a mile radius sweep every day. 2 Most shelters have available for loan have a really large wire "house" contraption that you bait with your scented clothes and food, and it shuts when they go in to check it out. Put it out in your yard and change the 'bait' daily. 3. Fire up the BBQ, the scent can be a good draw if your dog is close by but hiding where you can't see him. Also, my husband and I always keep treats in our cars for when we see a stray so we have something enticing to keep them from bolting. It's worked and resulted in happy reunions!

Helle Hansen

Our cat was missing just a week before he should have a microchip and ear-mark. First we looked in the neighbourhood, then we put poster up in the area and at the vet.

Judith Burleigh

I recently tamed and adopted a feral cat. She now lives with me in my home and I have had her netured and declawed (bag claws only). Dilemma: I will be moving to Wisconsin and will be driving instead of flying with my cat. Any and all tips concerning cat travel will be appreciated. Should I get my vet to give me something that will lessen her fear/apprehension of travel. I will be keeping her in a cage for trip but how do I get her to use her catbox? In the SUV? Help... thanks!


ALL my cats have always loved cars. But I would get her used to the idea by putting her in the car for a few hours (while not driving) with her food and water and litter box. Then the next time do the same just driving around the block. Yes it is safer to always have the cat in a crate (and the crate anchored with a safety belt), but personally I have found (and heard) that my cats do not take well to this way of traveling long distances. But you have to at least make sure she is not going to jump on the dashboard or sneak under your feet as you drive (!!) so I would buy a partition that you can install behind the front seats so she can just be free to move in the back. I would make sure she has water at all times... and if you see her with her mouth open... she is too hot and you need the AC or ventilation (!).


I lost my 14-year-old cat last year and searched for three days before we found her. The key to her recovery was neon colored signs with a good clear photo placed on stop signs throughout the neighborhood. She was found three blocks away after a lady saw the sign after spotting our cat. Walking the neighborhood and handing out flyers also got good response (even though they didn't see my cat). When my gate was left open and my dogs went for a walk on their own, driving around the neighborhood was key to finding them. There are also local search and rescue people with search dogs that track lost pets for a fee.

Karen Apicella

A gentleman lost his dog in our neighborhood (Downtown Brooklyn) a few months ago and I called all the rescue organizations in the area until I found him - this really does work. Peewee got back to his family, although he was fixed and microchipped, which was probably better. He came home to loving parents and he now had the tools to track him down if ever it should happen again.

Mina Yindra

I saw a dog running frantically down our street in front of moving vehicles tonight. By the time I got my keys and got in the car to follow him, about 60 seconds max, he was gone. I looked everywhere in the immediate area and I have no idea if someone picked him up or if he is hiding in the woods around here. It's a sickening feeling because he was obviously healthy from his appearance and must have just run away. I guess my concern is not only that I couldn't find him but, if his owners are looking for him, how will they ever know I saw him run by so they can know what area he was in at that time? I know he was a white Spaniel-looking breed with some spot markings, fairly large. Our animal control is not necessarily the most responsive when you tell them a dog is running around- how do you get the word out to anyone who is searching?


Of all the dogs I have adopted, there have only been 2 escapes. Both times I got them back by asking if they want to go for a ride in the car. This has worked for other dogs I have seen roaming the streets as well. It's been a fool proof solution.


Of all the dogs I have adopted, there have only been 2 escapes. Both times I got them back by asking if they want to go for a ride in the car. This has worked for other dogs I have seen roaming the streets as well. It's been a fool proof solution.


Also, the need to encourage people to actually register the chip in their animals needs to be encouraged. Cause I can't tell u the number of animals that have chips that were nevered registered. They will never get home otherwise.