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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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Joanne Lastort

If you adopted a pet from a rescue, call them. A lot of times they can help with flyers and people to search.


There are some great ideas on here (below) with tips on finding lost pets - what I DON'T see are better ways to keep your pets from getting lost to begin with! This may not work as well with cats but since dogs in most states are required to be registered and wearing tags but the first rule is: TEACH YOUR DOG TO RETURN ON COMMAND! Period.

Karen Pauli

Leave your pet a scent trail to follow to find their way home. For a dog, put something you've worn out in a shletered place, like a porch or carport. For a cat, put out the used litterbox. We navigate by sight, they navigate by scent.


The clothing trick works for cats too. I lured my lost kittie home by leaving a worn t-shirt near the front of my door. He found it in one day and meowed loudly at the door, where I happily scooped him up.

So many people don't think of this and smack themselves when I suggest it. I am always being asked what to do when a pet is lost. Those clothes can be sented for a long way off. Another thing: Kids are bad about opening gates. Lock Your Gates! One last trick that has worked in my neighborhood. Get a stand-up clear holder for a good 8X10 photo of your lost animal. Put this on your porch alongside a good pet carrier. If 'Junior' brings home a cute puppy and the parent wants to find out where it came from and cruses the neighborhood... Bingo!


Locking your gates is the best advice. The gas and electric companies will provide you with a lock free of charge so they still have access. All you have to do is call and ask for locks. Gates need to be checked regularly though, because a new gas meter reader went through our neighborhood once and left every gate wide open. I called and complained and it never happened again.


Our neighborhood HOA keeps a registry of pets with their addresses and pictures so if your pet is lost you can call or email them and they will send out a mass email for you. We have over 2000 homes in our subdivision, so this is a fantastic way to get information out. Also, if you find a lost pet, they can also send out a mass email as well as compare the directory to them.


That is a wonderful idea! I wish more HOA did this.


I have HOA in our neighbor hood but not for pets. Wish we did. That's the best idea. WE lost a pet and found him dead right out sise the neighbor hood. He was only 2 1/2 years old. We miss him.


Be sure to have several clear recent photos of your pet showing
identifying markings and colors. Micro-chip your pets. Give your pet a collar with a current address and phone ID tage. And most importantly, keep your pets indoors with you, not out running free in the neighborhood.