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June 29, 2023

Lost & Found Pet Plan: 11 Steps to Help Bring Your Pet Home

More pets go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year due to fear and anxiety caused by fireworks. However, curious or frightened pets can wander away from home on any given day. Many pet parents are unsure of what to do when their pets go missing. In such a critical moment, the heartbreak and panic can overwhelm distraught pet parents. That's why having a plan in place before such an event occurs is crucial to increase the chances of a safe and happy reunion. So, what is your Lost & Found Plan? We’ve put together 11 crucial steps to take if your pet goes missing:


  1. Verify and Update Microchip Information: If your pet is microchipped, contact the microchip company to ensure your pet's registered information is current. Outdated contact details linked to the microchip can lead to a dead end if your pet is found and scanned at a clinic or shelter. Remember, a microchip is only as good as the information connected to it!
  2. Conduct a Thorough Search: Search your neighborhood thoroughly, including streets, parks, and nearby properties. Inform your neighbors about your missing pet and request permission to search their yards or garages, as pets can sometimes wander into open spaces.
  3. Create Eye-Catching Flyers: Design eye-catching flyers with your pet's photo, description, and your contact information. Hand out these flyers to neighbors during your search and strategically post them in high-traffic locations such as community bulletin boards, veterinary clinics, pet stores, and relevant social media platforms.
  4. Contact Animal Shelters, Rescues, and Veterinary Clinics: Call nearby animal shelters, rescue organizations, and veterinary clinics to inquire if your pet has been dropped off. Inquire what their process is when taking in lost pets, and provide them with a detailed description and any identification your pet may have, such as microchip details or a collar with tags.
  5. Utilize Social Media and Neighborhood Apps: Go online and spread the word about your missing pet. Share your pet's information, photos, and contact details on local lost and found pet groups and community pages. There are so many kind souls online eager to help!
  6. Utilize Online Platforms: Platforms such as PetCo Love Lost, Paw Boost, and Finding Rover help connect pets with their families through a network of users and resources. They allow you to create a profile for your missing pet and receive notifications if someone finds a match. Some platforms even use face recognition technology to try to match lost and found animals in their databases.
  7. Regularly Check Online Shelter Databases: Regularly monitor the "Lost and Found" section of local shelter's online databases, which may contain photos of found animals. 
  8. Stay Vigilant and Follow Up: Stay in touch with shelters, rescues, and individuals assisting in the search. Monitor communication channels regularly and follow up on any potential leads or sightings quickly.
  9. Consider Professional Help: If your resources are exhausted without success, consider hiring a professional pet detective or pet tracker. These experts have experience and resources to aid in finding lost pets.
  10. Don't Lose Hope: Keep searching, posting updates, and maintaining contact with local resources. Continue your efforts! Pets are usually reunited within days or weeks of going missing, but we have seen pets reunited with their families after months and even years.
  11. Print Your Lost & Found Plan: Print this list and keep it with your pet's vital information, including vaccine records, adoption papers, and microchip information. Being prepared and proactive will allow quick access to your Lost & Found Plan and all your pet's information in case of an emergency.


Before your pet goes missing, it's highly recommended to prepare a detailed description, including breed, color, size, distinctive markings, and special characteristics. This information will be crucial for spreading the word and filing reports. By being prepared and proactive, you can increase the chances of bringing your beloved pet back home. Remember, every minute counts

Article written by Kelly Sheehan
Kelly is inspired by animal wellness, rescue, and the incredible bond between human and animal companion. Her passion is connecting those in her community who truly care to the animals and causes that need them.

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