Losing a pet is every pet parent’s worst nightmare. Your dog or pet has gotten loose and you have no idea where they are. Like all emergencies, being prepared is key.
Why do pets run away?
Pets are often upset & scared by thunder, loud noises or strange people in the house. Or you have brought home a new four-legged family member and they are not used to the ‘normal’ that is your busy and quite different from what they are used to place of residence. Perhaps your pet is bored, lonely and wants a new friend that is not in the house, they’ve looked. If they have not made it to their vet appointment to be spade or neutered, they are following their hormones and are wanting to get outside to find a mate. F.Y.I – those saucy calls at 2 AM were not a failed attempt of your pet pretending to be an alarm clock.
When pets are upset & scared or in an unfamiliar new environment, they tend to hide – they want to escape the unpleasantness. Sometimes while trying to accomplish this idea of safe & secure, they accidentally find themselves OUTDOORS!?#@%!. Which can be even scarier and louder, so they start the hide process again and leave you frantic since your pet has disappeared. Bored, lonely and unaltered pets just want OUT to find what they are looking for which also leaves their owners quite distraught when they disappear and now are also technically lost.
Identification, identification and more identification!
Because pets have yet to master speaking human languages, identification can be a lifesaver for a lost pet. Collars with an id tag that includes your name, current phone number and any relevant contact information are always a good idea for pets to wear. Microchips are great because unlike collars, they cannot be readily removed. However, microchips are only as good as the information provided to the chip’s company. Always update the company with any new contact information if you have moved or changed phone numbers.
Search your home and check with your neighbors!
As soon as you realize your pet is missing, check with your family members to see when and where the last place your pet was seen. Search your home carefully – in every room – including closets, dark spaces, small spaces, behind & under all of the furniture – in case your pet decided to take a nap once they found a nice quiet place. Shake treats, their food dish or a favorite toy to try and lure them out of their hiding places. Older animals may be losing their hearing and just cannot hear you in their deep sleep. Or if they are hiding because they are scared, cracking a can of fish or opening their favorite food container may be required to help convince them to come out into the open. Once you are sure that your pet is not anywhere in your home, walk around the neighborhood, call your neighbors, check the shrubbery and under porches. Ask your neighbors to check any sheds, garages or other outbuildings in case your pet was accidently locked inside.
Plaster the airwaves!
Call or message the staff here at the Dekalb Humane Society, contact the local police department and KPC newspaper office as well as local vet offices. Have a recent photo of your pet ready to provide. Your pet may have already been found and in custody. Post your lost pet on social media. Make flyers to post around the neighborhood. Blanket said neighborhood with the flyers and talk to people, letting them know your pet is lost. The more eyes and ears who know about your lost pet, the better.
Don’t give up!
This is important. Your pet is your family member too and to keep searching.
Sources: Petfinder, petfinder.com; The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, aspca.org