Skip to Content

How to Find a Lost Pet: Steps You Can Take

Sadly, millions of pets go missing annually. According to the American Humane Society, less than 20% of lost pets are reunited with their owners. Losing a pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, turtle, or other animal, is one of the most traumatic experiences a pet parent can ever go through. If it has happened to you, you may be wondering how to find a lost pet.

If your pet suddenly gets lost, don’t panic! I know! Easier said than done for a worried pet parent!

However, you will need to quickly take action to reunite with your pet as soon as possible. Here are some tips you can follow.

How to Find a Lost Pet, Steps You Can Take

Run ads in local papers and on social media

Social media and the online world can be incredibly helpful when looking for a lost pet.

If you’re not on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you may ask someone to post on your behalf.

Don’t include too much information. Just include a photo of your pet, and write the words “lost pet” and your phone number.

Reach out to Facebook groups and pet websites that track lost pets in your area.

Also, don’t forget to check “lost and found” ads in the local paper.

If you can afford it, consider offering a reward

A reward is usually not required but in some situations, may help recover a precious lost pet.

Just be wary of people who insist on getting the money first before returning the animal.

Get all the help you need

Our animal friends play an important role in our lives, so when they suddenly go missing, postpone some of your tasks if you have to.

Enlist the help of your family and relatives to find a lost pet.

Ask them to share your pet’s photos and details on social media.

Do whatever it takes to make time to look for your pet!

Lost dog poster on a tree

Print flyers and post them wherever they keep photos of lost animals

Aside from sharing photos of your lost pet online, print physical copies of lost pet flyers or pet posters and post a flyer on bulletin boards locally.

Print high-quality copies of your pet’s photo.

See to it that the image is colored, clear, and accurate. If you can, include snapshots from various angles.

Go to different shelters, vet clinics, grocery stores, and gas stations and post the flyers on their bulletin boards.

You can also plaster it in front of your house and on telephone poles.

Stay glued to your phone

Since your pet’s photo and your number are posted everywhere, leads may come at any time.

Check every lead that turns up.

Never respond to a “pet found” report alone

Take a friend or a family member with you, and arrange to meet the person in a public place.

Don’t invite a stranger to your home and be alert for money scams all the time.

Use the identifying details you have withheld about your pet.

If the person claims to have found your furry friend but cannot give you a detailed physical description accurately, then maybe they don’t have your pet!

Reach out to Veterinary Clinics to find a lost pet

Your pet might have been taken to a veterinary clinic or shelter.

So it’s important that you let these facilities know your pet is missing.

Contact the clinics, private practices, and shelters in your area and provide them with all the details of your pet.

Reach out to all nearby animal rescues, shelters, and animal control agencies

Call each one and ask if they have any information.

Moreover, ask them for other possible places to check. Every agency may have different leads.

Aside from shelters, contact animal control, and be sure to reach out to veterinary offices and animal hospitals.

Scanning a hairless cat for a microchip

Check animal shelters daily for updates

Rescue centers and shelters may assure you that they will notify you once your pet shows up, but don’t ever count on it.

People who work there are very busy, and may not easily recognize your pet from those who are turned in.

Ask to see their lost and found records. It’s okay to be persistent, just be nice and polite.

Don’t ever give up.

If your pet has a microchip, call the microchip company to ensure that they have your most current phone number and address.

Can’t find your pet’s microchip details?

Call your vet clinic or rescue where you got your pet. There’s a good chance they have the number on file.

Search the entire neighborhood

Talk to your neighbors, delivery people, parents waiting at school bus stops, and mail carriers if they have seen your pet.

Reach out even to small children playing around – oftentimes, they are more observant than grownups.

Animals can easily get into the tiniest, most isolated places.

If you are looking for a cat, don’t forget to check trees and roofs.

Use a flashlight to search secluded areas where animals might hide – under parked cars, in sheds, and inside drains.

It’s best to go outside at night when it’s super quiet, and then try to call out your pet’s name. 

Listen carefully for the faint sounds that might indicate an animal stuck somewhere.

Two collies and a black and white cat sitting in a row.

Put out some of their favorite items

To help find a lost pet, it may be helpful to place their familiar bedding, blanket, or one of your worn/dirty shirts outside or in the last known area they were seen.

The scent of their belongings can potentially attract them back. And, we all know our pets love the scent of their humans.

Place your pet’s toys or chew items in the yard or near your home’s entrance.

This may catch their attention and lure them home.

Animals can be motivated by food.

Leaving their favorite food, treats, or an opened can of wet food outside your home can attract their attention and potentially coax them back.

Strong-smelling treats like freeze-dried liver or fish have a distinct scent that pets find hard to resist and may be worth considering.

Staying calm is key in a situation like this.

You’ll need to be patient, as well- it can take time for your missing pet to show up or get back home.

If you are here and wondering how to find a lost pet, we hope that this article will be helpful in helping you find your lost companion.


Wednesday 13th of September 2023

A good plan really helps!

Love these woofs?

Help spread our waggie tales. You're pawesome for doing it!