There are probably very few feelings as terrible as the sudden panic when you realize your pet is lost. Yet several thousands of pets go missing each year. Even with the safest of precautions, accidents happen: a door gets left open or your dog digs a hole under the fence…
Since spring is high season for missing pets, it’s a good time to consider ways to prevent your pet from becoming lost, as well as what to do should this happen.
A Word to the Wise: Microchipping
Before we begin, let’s talk prevention.
Microchipping is by far the best way to ensure the safe return of a lost pet. Microchipping essentially involves implanting an electronic chip the size of a grain of rice in the nape of your pet’s neck. The procedure is both quick and relatively painless, and, unlike ID tags (which can fall off), microchips are secure and can last up to 25 years.
The other benefit of microchipping is that it is universal. The first thing animal control or a veterinary clinic will check for when a pet is assumed to be lost is a microchip. It also prevents missing pets from becoming stolen, since the rightful guardian is associated with the chip.
Please consider microchipping, if you haven’t done so, and increase your chance of being reunited with a lost pet.
Your Pet is Lost, Now What?
However, no matter how vigilant we might be about keeping an eye on our pets, escapes happen. This is particularly true for cats who spend time outdoors, since they are prone to roaming. Aside from panicking, you may wonder what to do if you cannot find your pet and how to bring him back home as quickly as possible.
If your pet is missing, here are effective and quick steps to be taken:
- Contact the Oakland County Animal Control to file a missing pet report, as well as the Michigan Humane Society and your local law enforcement precinct.
- E nlist the help of family members, neighbors, and friends to walk through the neighborhood, calling your pet’s name, taking the time to personally inquire with local residents.
- Hand out and post flyers with your pet’s photograph(s), your contact information, when and where the pet was last seen, and any other pertinent information.
- T ake another thorough exploration of all closets, nooks, crawl spaces, and so forth throughout the home. It’s amazing where our pets may decide to nap or hide.
- Post a lost pet listing on Craigslist, For the Love of Louie Facebook page for missing pets, your Facebook page and other social media pages, and local newspapers.
- Contact or post on Facebook pages for area veterinary clinics, your pet’s clinic, pet supply stores, and emergency veterinary hospitals.
- Ask friends and neighbors to get the word out by sharing your flyer on their social media pages, church bulletins, and community newsletters.
- Place food and water outside the back door or in the yard. Visit local shelters and rescues daily.
- More than anything, keep the faith that your pet will come home. There have been cases where pets have returned after being away for months (and even years). A few weeks doesn’t mean your pet is forever lost.
- Stay positive and continue to focus on getting the word out to anyone and everyone who may have come across your missing pet. And, remember to microchip your best friend right away, if you haven’t taken this important step to safety.
Although the thought of losing a precious four-legged friend is terrifying, through quick action and preventive measures, you can ensure your pet remains home, sweet home.