For pet owners, there is nothing more heartbreaking than a missing pet, and sadly, it happens more often than it should. Often, pets escape from their homes through openings in fences or perhaps a gate has not been properly secured and the pet escapes and starts to wander. When this happens, the best case scenario is to discover it quickly, improving the chances of a prompt recovery.
However, sometimes it can be hours before the owner discovers that their pet is gone and by this time, the pet may have wandered quite a distance. Thankfully, there are resources available to help an owner find a lost pet and we’d like to share those with you as well offer tips about other steps you can take to reunite with your pet.
My pet is missing, what do I do?
If your pet goes missing, time is of the essence. The sooner you take action, the better the odds are of finding your pet safe and healthy. It is important to stay calm, while it may not be easy. There are many resources and communities that will help find your pet, so try staying positive. Once the initial shock wears off, you must take action immediately. Below are some steps to take right away to help you find your pet.
Of course, one of the first steps you’ll want to take in the event of a lost pet is to get the word out. Let neighbors know that your pet has escaped so that they can be on the lookout should he or she still be in the neighborhood. It is also a good idea to call all the local animal shelters and vets in your area in case your pet ends up in their care.
Many owners post flyers throughout their neighborhood and surrounding areas. This is a great tactic because you will reach people who regularly walk through the area and will likely come across more stray cats and dogs than those who drive or bike. Try posting the flyers at crosswalks and bus stops where people will be idly standing and have the opportunity to read. You can put a description of the pet, your contact information and even offer a reward.
It is a pretty standard practice to have pets microchipped these days, and chances are your pet has had it done. If they have been microchipped, call the provider to notify them that your pet is missing and ensure your contact information is up to date. Additionally, if your pet is not yet microchipped, you may want to consider having this done immediately, as it is one of the easiest ways for a shelter or vet to identify a missing pet.
Social media is a great way to get the word out quickly and to a large group of people in your area. Many cities and neighborhoods have open Facebook groups for people to post about missing and found pets. This is a great strategy because it enables people to share photos and details of the pets with the just the click of a button. There is nothing more powerful than a group of people who want to achieve something. We have seen many successful reunions come from these social groups. Even if you have not lost a pet, it may be a good idea to join a few of these groups now, in case you need to act fast on finding a lost pet in the future.
Missing Pet Directories
- PawBoost is a free tool that allows you rapidly alert Facebook groups, rescues, and vets in your area of a missing pet. This programs offers 10x more exposure and increases your chances of reuniting with your pet. You simply input your pet’s information and it will automatically be dispersed to shelters, vets and pet rescue organizations in your local area. The site also has a lost and found database that will keep missing and found pets on file until they are reunited with their families. We spent some time poking around on this site and found it very user-friendly. Did we mention their Rescue Squad? This program also has a community of 100+ volunteers who are willing to conduct physical searches for missing pets in their local areas.
- PAWS is a local resource for lost pets. PAWS takes in strays from a large radius of Puget Sound communities in the north end such as Brier, Edmonds, Lake Forest Park, Mill Creek, Woodinville and Mountlake Terrace to name a few. They also offer a great list of steps to take when you’ve lost a pet that you can check out here but we’ve highlighted a few below.
Lost & Found Pets in Snohomish County
If you lost or found a missing pet in Snohomish County, the list of resources below will be handy.
- Lost & Found Snohomish County
- Seattle DogSpot Lost Pet Services
- Dog & Cat Lost and Found-Seattle, Snohomish County
- Lost and Found Pets Washington State Facebook page
- Lost Dogs of Snohomish County
- Lost Cats of Snohomish County Facebook Page
Lost & Found Pets in King County
Below is a list of resources for lost and found pets in Seattle.
- Seattle Animal Shelter
- Dog & Cat Lost and Found Seattle, South King County
- Lost or Found Animals-Seattle Humane
- Seattle Lost and Found Craigslist
What if I find a lost pet?
If you encounter a domesticated animal outside of someone’s property that appears to be alone, there are several steps you can take to help.
- First thing to keep in mind when coming across a lost pet is to approach with caution. Not all animals are well socialized. If an animal is not in their owner’s possession, there is no telling what they have been through. Hunger and injuries can fuel aggression in animals, especially in dogs and cats. For the safety of both you and the animal, follow professional tips from the Humane Society when attempting to catch a stray.
- Keep in mind that not all dogs and cats on the streets are strays. So before you assume that the pet doesn’t have a home, find out for sure. It is common for people to find missing pets who already have loving families, and keep them as their own. While your intentions may be kind, the most important thing for this pet is to reunite it with its rightful owners.
- Check for a collar with tags. It should be easy to see if they have them, but if you are having trouble getting close enough to read them, take the pet to a vet.
- If there are no tags, bring the pet to a shelter or vet to scan their microchip. If they are chipped, you or the vet can then reach out to the owner.
- Ask your neighbors or local residents if they happen to know to who the animal belongs.
- Utilize technologies such as Facebook, PawBoost and PAWS to help you reunite the pet with its owners.
- Contact your local Animal Shelters to let them know you’ve found a dog. If the owners also reach out looking for the pet, they can connect you to reunite the owners and pet.
Typically, owners are diligently searching for their pet so by acting quickly to get the word out you will greatly improve the chances of the pet being reunited with its owner sooner rather than later.
Lost and Found Exotic Pets
While the most common domesticated pets are cats and dogs, exotic pets can go missing too. Below are some other types of pets to keep an eye out for:
Birds: There are thousands of species of birds that are kept as pets, and not all of them have their wings clipped. It is not uncommon for them to take off. If you see a bird that does not look native to your area, chances are it may be someone’s pet. In this case, it won’t hurt to snap a pic and post on social media where it was last seen.
Reptiles: Many reptiles are very sensitive to their environments, so if you happen to come across a snake or lizard that might be a pet, take action. They will not likely survive without the appropriate diets and temperatures.
Rabbits & Rodents: It will be difficult to differentiate one of these animals as a pet or a wild animal. But, if you come across one that appears to have adapted to human interaction, it may be a pet. Consider reaching out to neighbors or a no kill shelter.
Livestock & Poultry: Many people keep animals, such as chicken, in their yards and these too can go missing. If you see a chicken or any livestock roaming free, take necessary steps to reunite them with their owners
Here at Cascade Kennels, we truly care about the well-being of your pets. We are happy to help reunite pets with their owners by sharing posts on out Facebook page and posting flyers in our lobby. Follow us on Facebook to get regular updates.