Do a thorough search of your home and property carefully. Many pets are actually located hiding inside the home or stuck somewhere outside they cannot get out from.
Post up a few flyers immediately in the area even if handwritten. Very often a neighbor may have already found your lost pet but not know what to do with him/her.
Create an easy to read flyer that you can make a few hundred copies of to place all over your area. Make enough copies to pass out to others to help get the word out about your pet being missing. Phone number should be visible easily by a passing car. See sample in our photo gallery. Some HOA's and cities will not allow flyers so you will need to get creative. You can put flyers on wooden stakes and place them on private properties (with approvals). You can also place flyers on peoples doorsteps as an alternative to mailboxes.
Change your vmail message to let those calling know your pet is missing and to leave details if they have seen your pet, like dates, times, locations and what they were doing (walking, running, meandering). This is all critical information to help you locate and recover your missing pet.
Hang Posters or Banners. Easily made and brightly colored these will grab the attention of all passing through the area. These are best for both busy intersections and/or areas where traffic is traveling to fast to slow and read a small flyer. Samples are in our photo gallery.
Talk to your immediate neighbors.
Get on Next-door.com as it is a local resource and your neighbors are on there and may have information about your pet (like sightings or if someone has found them).
Check with your local shelter to see if someone has picked up your pet and brought them in.
Check Shelters outside your area also as someone may have picked your pet up and travelled with them.
Check with your local vets, pets stores and groomers as sometimes they can be brought to these types of locations.
Make sure to pass out flyers to all local residents and businesses within a 1 mile radius right away. Hit all major intersections and corners with brightly colored fliers and poster boards to bring awareness.
Networking your lost dog or cat online can be extremely important to reuniting with your lost pet! This will create awareness by letting others know your pet is missing. Posting up the flyer you have made or even a simple description of your pet along with the general location will help spread the word. Make sure to utilize all avenues of social media including the below;
petharbor.com (will search most all shelters up to 200 miles out)
Contact your pets microchip company to let them know your pet is missing and to make sure your microchip contact information is updated. If your pet has a microchip and is taken to be scanned then you will be notified immediately. You must have your microchip registered which you may need to do. Do not assume a shelter or rescue has done this. Call the company direct and if you have moved recently call them to make sure your information is current. If someone has taken or stolen your pet, please also call the microchip company immediately to report the animal as lost or stolen so they can flag the chip as such.
Is your pet missing in the mountains? In the desert? Up against the hills? Near a wash? There are many other avenues for searching depending on what area your pet is missing from. You can utilize neighbors with drones or even local airports with pilots willing to go up. Be sure to contact the bureau of land management and any state or county park offices and rangers near your lost pet area. Check with local campers and hikers, and make sure to put flyers at trail heads and meeting points at local off road areas. This is an area of expertise for us so if you are missing a pet in this type of terrain please contact us right away so we can guide you further to help get your pet home sooner.
If you are missing a cat, tips to finding them differ then how to search for a dog. Please see our cat tips located on our resource page.
Do NOT chase your dog. This could drive your pet farther away and into a dangerous predicament like traffic or into the hills.
DO calmly follow your dog calmly if your dog is running from you. You want to keep an eye on your pet without chasing them so you can have a better chance of catching him/her. Knowing where he/she went will be important in finding them again should you lose site of them.
Do NOT call your pets name over and over.
Do call your pets name gently but only periodically. They often feel like they are in trouble and will not respond or come out of hiding if you are yelling their name.
Do NOT tell others to call your pets name while searching.
DO enlist others to help you put up flyers so you can start to get sightings. This is the #1 way dogs get reunited. You can never have enough flyers up. Minimum of 200 to start with would be our recommendation.
Do NOT leave food out.
There is a time and place for this and you should be in contact with us to discuss where this will and will not be ok. If you leave food out you risk driving in coyotes to an area that was previously safe for your pet. Ask us more about this and we can advise depending on your situation.
DO NOT give up! We have seen pets reunited from hours to months later! Keep searching and don't give up hope. Many dogs and cats can survive for quite a while on the street or in the hills on their own.
DO Something! TAKE action by following the tips above right away!