What to do if your pet goes missing
When your pet goes missing, it can be difficult to know what to do first to help find them. There are lots of things we can do as owners to try and find our missing pets.
Sometimes, no matter how careful we are, our pets can go missing. Whether your cat has not come home one night, or your dog has managed to escape the garden, it can be a really distressing time for owners and pets alike.
The important thing to remember is not to panic. Try to keep calm and follow our simple steps to help find your missing pet.
- Check their favourite spots and hiding places. Sometimes while we are panicking about our missing pets, they may just be lounging in their favourite spot too lazy to move when they’re called! This is especially true of cats, so make sure to check all of your pet’s favourite spots first.
- Ask the neighbours. If your pet has gone missing near your home, ask your neighbours if they have seen them. It may just be that they are in a neighbouring garden and couldn’t figure out how to get back – or something in said garden was too interesting to ignore! If you’ve recently moved home and your old house is nearby, pop over to make sure your pet hasn’t wandered back to the wrong house.
- Call your pet’s microchip database. If your pet goes missing, it’s best to report this to your microchip database if your pet is chipped. While you’re at it, double check that your details, including your phone number, are up to date. This will help vets, animal wardens or rescue centres identify your lost pet and get into contact with you quickly.
- Call local vets and rescue centres. Sometimes, someone may have found your pet and handed them in to a local vet or rescue centre. Give them a call to check, because even if they haven’t been handed in you can still ask them to keep a look out and give them your number.
- Notify your local animal warden. Especially if your dog is missing, it’s important to let your local animal warden know as they may well be the people most likely to be notified if someone finds them.
- Check local groups on social media. Across social media, you may find local groups and local lost and found groups. Check these to see if anyone has found your pet. You can also use these groups to let lots of people know your pet is missing and ask them to keep a lookout for your pet. Don’t forget to encourage people to check sheds and garages if your cat has gone missing as they could be hiding.
- Add them to a missing pet website. There are lots of websites designed to help you find your pet if they go missing. You may want to add your pet to one of these sites to help raise awareness.
- Make posters and flyers. Sometimes it can be useful to put up posters and hand out flyers in the local area to help make people aware and get more people helping to search for your pet.
Usually, if a cat goes missing you may find they come back on their own within a couple of days, but it’s far better to be safe than sorry! Don’t forget to let people looking for your pet know when you have found them.
What should I do if I think my pet was stolen?
Unfortunately, pets – especially valuable or sought-after pedigree breeds – can sometimes be stolen from their owners. Some thieves have even been known to take dogs from their owners’ own gardens. If you think your pet may have been stolen, you’ll need to follow the same steps as if they had gone missing but it’s also important that you notify the police, especially if you suspect a break-in.
How can I stop my pet from getting lost?
Sometimes, we can’t help it when our pets go missing. Outdoor cats can easily wander too far away or get spooked by bad weather and lose their way home. But there are some things you can do to try and keep your pet safer:
- Make sure any pets your have are microchipped and your details are kept up-to-date. If they are found they are more likely to be reunited with you if they are microchipped.
- Make sure your garden is pet-proof and secure if your pet plays outdoors. Read about how to make your garden pet friendly.
- Try to keep pets indoors during bad weather or fireworks as they may get frightened and try to run away.
- Make sure your rabbits have the perfect, escape-proof home whether they are indoors or out and regularly check for any burrowing in their outdoor runs!
- Remember to keep windows and doors closed if your pet bird is having some time outside of their indoor aviary.
In unfamiliar areas, keep your dog on a lead.
If you think you've found a stray pet, follow our steps to help reunite them with their owner.