Losing a pet is a traumatic experience for you, your family and your pet. The following are some tips for finding your lost pet.
Search your neighbourhood
Walk or drive through your neighbourhood several times a day, especially early in the morning and at dusk. Ask neighbours and their children (kids often know more about the neighbourhood than working parents), letter carriers, joggers, garbage collectors, newspaper carriers and others to look out for your pet.
Use the internet
There are many websites dedicated to helping lost and found animals be returned to their guardians. The following sites include Canada, and may be a valuable resource for you to post either a lost or found animal, as well as search the listings to see if your missing pet is among them.
Put up eye-catching posters
Put up "Lost Pet" posters. When you create an account at BC SPCA Pet Search: www.bcpetsearch.com, you are given the option to create a FREE poster that includes a photo of the animal; description of the animal; where it was lost and a contact telephone number. Post them in as many places as possible: around the site where the animal was lost; grocery and corner stores; local parks; telephone poles etc.
Consider offering a nominal reward. Beware of callers who say they have your pet and demand you send them money for the animal's return. Withhold one of your pet's identifying characteristics so you can verify the honesty of a caller who is claiming to have found your pet.
Place an ad in the paper
Place an ad in the lost column of local newspapers. Since many papers allow people to put "found" ads for free, check newspapers daily in case someone is trying to find you!
Visit animal shelters
Go and personally visit the animal shelters in your area -- rather than phoning them. Often shelters have many animals that might match your pet and workers are often too busy to handle phone calls. Visit the shelter every 24 hours. If you don't have a shelter in your area contact the local police.
Check animal control (City Pounds)
Contact your local animal control to report your pet missing and see if the animal has been found. If you are unsure how to contact animal control in your area, please dial information and ask.
Check animal hospitals and vet clinics
If your pet was injured he or she may have been taken to a nearby veterinarian or animal hospital before being taken to an animal shelter.
Contact "animal find" organizations
Some communities have non-profit groups who have formed a network to assist people who have lost a pet. When you visit your Animal Control shelter, ask if such a network exists in your area. Try looking in the newspaper classified ads for these groups or ask at a pet store. If you use one of these services remember to give a donation so they can continue to help others. Some of these groups may charge a nominal service fee.
Try the power of scent
Try placing a recently worn piece of clothing outside. Animals have a keen sense of smell and familiar smells can bring them home. For indoor cats, place their litter box outside.
Was your pet stolen?
It is far more likely your pet has strayed from home than he or she has been stolen. If you have evidence that leads you to believe your pet was stolen, contact police and your local BC SPCA or Animal Control agency. Permanent identification in the form of tattooing or a microchip implant can help authorities track your animal.
Don't give up!
Continue to search for your pet even when there is little hope. Some animals who have been lost for months have been reunited with their guardians.
Stray animals that have some form of identification (ID) have a much better chance of finding their way home. So if your pet doesn't have ID - DO IT TODAY! The BC SPCA has an information leaflet about the "Importance of Identification for Pets" & "Finding a Lost Pet" available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format (261Kb).