• Remain calm and implement your effective "plan of attack" in a responsible manner.

  • Check the house and yard. Call your animal companion by his/her name.

  • If you do not locate your pet quickly, expand your search. Some pets can travel considerable distances quickly ending up in any one of several holding facilities. Others may be picked up by a well meaning person and deposited at a shelter or holding facility in a neighbouring municipality or county.

    1. Contact all of the humane societies, pounds, animal shelters, veterinary hospitals, universities, research labs and similar facilities in the immediate and surrounding areas.

    2. Try to personally visit these facilities as often as possible. (On many occasions pets and their humans have failed to be reunited, even though the animal was in the holding facility that their human guardian contacted because employees of the facility did not recognize the animal from the verbal or written description given. If the animal’s guardians had personally checked out the animals being held they would have recognized their animal companion).

    3. Learn what the minimum holding time is for each facility and check back frequently to ensure that your pet is not killed sold for research or adopted.

    4. Leave a colour photograph of your pet, where you can be reached 24 hours a day and request that you be contacted when animals even loosely fitting your pet’s description are brought in.


  • Enquire as to what other facilities, departments, government agencies and individuals you should be contacting.

  • If you believe that your animal companion may have been stolen you should contact the police and other local authorities.

  • Contact radio stations, newspapers and television stations - especially those that offer "lost pet" announcements.

  • Post lost ads in newspapers and check the found ads.

  • Using the information and up-to-date photo of your pet in your file, quickly design and make copies of a "lost pet" sign. An effective sign contains:

    1. A good photograph of the animal (either an actual photograph or a clear photo photocopied, colour if possible, on the sign)
    2. An accurate written description of the animal including information about any collar or tags
    3. Information on where the pet went missing
    4. Information on how you can be contacted (include your name, address, phone numbers)
    5. Use brightly coloured paper (yellow is good) for the sign this will attract attention as will the word "Lost" in big letters at the top of the sign
    6. If a reward is being offered then "Reward" written in big letters will attract even more attention - especially with children who are often the most effective at finding lost pets.

  • Post the signs in high traffic areas such as street posts, schools, post offices, convenience stores, grocery stores, laundromats, libraries, veterinary clinics, pounds, animal shelters, schools etc. (Where applicable get permission to post these signs and, when the search is over, remove all of the signs.) If you have extra copies of your pet’s photograph you can leave it at these locations as a clear, up-to-date photograph is much better than even a very clear photocopy of the photo.

  • Give copies of the sign to people you meet on your search or who are frequently in the area such as school children, postal workers, newspaper carriers, school bus drivers, couriers, town employees etc.

  • Be aware that not everyone who contacts you about your pet has your or your pet's well-being in mind. Be wary of people who contact you that do not identify themselves nor offer information without first receiving payment. In most cases, these people do not actually have your pet, nor know where it is, but are trying to use this situation to con money out of unsuspecting people who's only wish is to have their pet returned to them.

    In a recent incident, a man contacted a family who had lost their dog claiming that he had had to take it to the vet due to injuries sustained in a car accident, and that he would return their dog if the family reimbursed him $900 US for the veterinary bill and a flight home. Luckily this man has been caught by the police and charged with 11 counts of fraud.