Lost Pet? Key Tips to Finding Your Animal

Act quickly and be persistent to find your lost pet. Scour your yard and neighborhood. File lost pet reports with local animal shelters; most have online systems. Post on Craigslist, too.

The telephone pole at the entrance to our neighborhood has a large red sign, ‘Thank you! We found our lost cat.’ What relief the owners must have felt.

How many lost animals find their way home? Much depends on how fast owners act and how persistent they are. My neighbors were lucky for several reasons. Their cat was alive, unharmed and returned to them. Some lost pets are never found, some are found but not alive.

Technology has improved our ability to search for lost pets online as well as on foot. If you lose -- or find -- an animal here are some tips for reuniting pet with his or her family. The SPCA Tampa also posts photos of Lost and Found Pets on its website.

If You Lose a Pet

1.) Check your county government animal shelter for online reporting. Don’t stop there. Visit immediately to look, then go back at least every three days, if not more.

2.) File lost pet reports with local animal shelters; most have online systems. Post on Craigslist, too.

3.) Place flyers around your neighborhood. (Use brightly colored paper and be sure your pet's photo is included.)

4.)Take the flyers to local veterinarian offices, emergency clinics and pet groomers/sitters locations near you. 

5.) Ask your neighbors and your postal carrier if they have seen your pet. There are several online services that will help you for a fee. E-alerts go to targeted zip codes: www.FindToto.com, www.PetHarbor.com

6.) Place a lost pet ad in local newspapers and read the lost/found section. (Some papers may offer free listings to help.)

7.) Look thorougly in bushes and yards in your neighborhood. The pet may be close by but out of sight. A good time to check is when it is quiet outdoors, so you can hear your animal if he or she is locked in a garage or injured.

8.) If you have recently moved, thoroughly check your old neighborhood.

9.) When you find your pet, notify everyone so they can stop looking.

10.) Remember shelters charge fees for reclaimed pets.

If You Find Someone's Pet

1.) File found pet reports with your county government animal shelter and local animal shelters.

2.) Create a flyer and share as you would for a lost pet. (If the animal you found is uninjured and easy-going, you can take he/she with you when you distribute flyers.) Knock on neighbors' doors; someone may recognize the pet.

3.) Check with your local vet, who often will scan the animal for an ID chip for free and contact the owner. Vet offices also may be the first have information on lost animals in the neighborhoood.

4.) Decide whether you can care for the animal until the owner is located. Make sure the animal has water.

5.) Place a found pet ad in local newspapers. Check for a lost pet ad that fits the animal you found. (Some papers offer free listings to help.)

6.) Find out which shelters will care for the animal, and what their policies are for taking in lost and stray animals. Not all shelters take in healthy lost pets. Some may not keep them for long periods.

7.) If the animal is sick/injured contact the emergency vet clinic in your area.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

DSS March 07, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Microchip your pet BEFORE the pet is lost. It's cheap and painless and oh, so helpful if someone thinks your pet is just a stray. Kill and no-kill shelters and vets can check the chip against a national registry. The registry contacts the owner regarding the whereabouts of the animal. The owner's identity is not revealed. Even if you don't want the animal anymore, just having the chip could help save its life.
SPCA Tampa Bay March 08, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Also please remember to update your microchip records if you move, give your animal to a friend, etc. People forget to do this and it makes it difficult to find the current owners.
Lori East November 15, 2012 at 02:42 AM
LOST DOG 11/14/12-Oreo is a black Shitzu/Pug, she wandered away from her yard on Tangerine Greenway between 51st & 52nd St. S. She had her flea collar on but not her tag. Oreo Loves her kids and they LOVE & MISS her. If you see her or have kept her safe for us Please call Lori @ 727-501=4879
SPCA Tampa Bay November 15, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Hi Lori, Can you email me a photo of Oreo? I'll forward your info to our lost/found department so we can post. Also check our website for 'found' animals SPCATampaBay.org Info@spcatampabay.org Nora
Cherlene Willis November 15, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Nora! I see that Lori also uploaded a photo and information in our "Lost & Found" section of Gulfport Patch! Here is the link! http://patch.com/N-f1vf (Hope this helps!) - Thanks for the quick response Nora! - Cherlene


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