11 Things You Should Do to Find Your Lost Pet


Our pets provide friendship, joy, and unconditional love. Many owners have a special connection with their furry friends. That close bond is briefly broken when a pet becomes lost and cannot find their way home.

We know that losing a pet can be devastating, but don't worry, there's hope. There are effective ways to bring your dog and cat back home. Here are 11 tips that can help owners locate lost pets.

Tip: Before your pet is lost, make sure to ID them.

There is a crucial step that pet owners should follow before their pets become lost. Ensure your furry friends are wearing proper identification at all times. First, we urge all owners to microchip their kittens or puppies. Implanted chips are a reliable way to help owners recover them.

At South Boston Animal Hospital, we offer a convenient microchip service to identify pets. These radio-frequency identification devices (RFID) are permanent. Our veterinarians follow a safe procedure to implant chips using a pre-loaded sterile applicator. We place the microchips underneath the loose skin between a pet's shoulder blades.

All pets, even indoor ones, should also wear a tag and collar. Include the following information on their identification tag:

  • Your furry friend's name.
  • Your name.
  • Your address.
  • Your phone number.
  • Your emergency number.
It's important to get your pet microchipped and tagged before they get lost. In the unfortunate event that you've already lost your pet, here are some steps to take.

1. Contact your microchip company. 

Microchip agencies can help locate your pet if they're wearing one. It is one of the easiest ways to find them. Contact the microchip company and tell them your dog or cat is missing. They can find their location through a radio frequency. When you talk to customer service, ensure the microchip company has your most up-to-date contact information.

2. Check your house.

Ask housemates and family members if they've seen your pet and find out when they last saw your dog or cat. Search underneath large pieces of furniture like chairs, sofas, or beds. Sometimes, a dog or cat will curl up in dark areas to sleep. Check inside dark closets, small places, garages, sheds, and other sites. Try to lure them out from a potential hiding place with their favorite food, treats, or toys.  

3. Canvas your neighborhood. 

Search your neighborhood for your lost furry friend. Drive slowly through streets. Call out your pet's name and whistle for them. Talk to your neighbors. Show them a recent picture of your cat or dog. Ask if they've seen them. Tell your neighbors to keep an eye out for them. Look within trees, porches, shrubs, and other outdoor areas where your pet may be hiding out.

4. Alert local veterinary hospitals, animal control centers, and rescue agencies. 

Call local animal hospitals, shelters, and rescue groups to see if they've found your pet. Sometimes, individuals will bring injured runaways or stray animals to local veterinarians. Give them your pet's description and provide your pet's microchip number and a recent photo.

5. Speak with your pet insurance agency. 

Talk with the pet policy insurer and ask if they can provide financial assistance to locate your missing dog or cat. Sometimes, the policies will cover costs to locate furry friends.

6. Prepare a flyer. 

Create a flyer to find your lost pet. Owners can download the ASPCA's Pet Safety for Lost Pets, Disaster Prep, and Emergency Alerts app. The free program has a kit that pet parents can use to create a flyer.

  • Use an updated picture.

  • Create a big headline. It should read "MISSING DOG" or "LOST CAT."

  • Provide information about your lost pet. Write a physical description. Include their sex, breed, height, age, color, and weight. Make sure to leave off two identifying characteristics about your pet. This will prevent scam artists from tricking you. Read the "Be wary of pet-recovery scams" section for more information.

  • Attach your contact information (name, telephone, etc;). Provide a second contact name and phone number, if the stranger that located your pet can't reach you.  

  • Make sure all information is factually correct. One wrong number can prevent you from being reunited with your dog or cat. 

  • Avoid offering a reward. This could attach value to a pet. If you do, your dog or cat could end up in the wrong hands.  

  • Distribute your flyers. Place them in local stores, malls, doctors offices, U.S. Post Offices, restaurants, and other areas. Ask permission before you post a flyer. Secure them to lamps and electrical posts. 

7. Use social media posts.

Make a social media post to advertise that your pet is lost. Ask friends and relatives to share the post on their timeline. Add the post on area lost pet websites and in local Facebook groups.

8. Place an advertisement.

Create an advertisement on internet sites about your lost pet. Here are a few websites that can assist you: You can also post a lost pet advertisement in your local newspaper's want ads.


9. Be wary of pet-recovery scams.

Unfortunately, owners that lost their dogs or cats must be wary of scams. Some con artists will ask for money for a pet that is not yours. Others demand money for a pet they don't have. Be careful. Be wary of individuals that demand money up front for a lost pet. Ask a stranger that has found your pet to describe them. They should provide identifying features about your pet left out of the advertisements.

"If someone claims that they found your #pet, but can't name any identifying features, tread lightly—it may be a scam." TWEET THIS

10. Create a scent trail for your pet.

A dog or cat may want to return home but cannot find it's way back. Create a scent trail to help your pet return home, especially during winter. Place a t-shirt, heavy with your scent, onto the back of an automobile or in a familiar area.

11. Stay hopeful.

Some pets can even return days, weeks, or even years after being lost. It's never too late to find a pet that's still living.

At South Boston Animal Hospital, we ensure that furry friends receive the best care possible.To schedule an appointment or learn more about our services, contact us today.