Anxiously Waiting

Tips for Finding a Lost Pet

The following tips have been compiled from various sources and animal organizations, and include tips from pet owners who have recovered a lost pet. This is a rather extensive list, but hopefully some of these tips will help you find your lost pet. Don't forget our Facebook page where you can list Lost and Found pets. Check our Lost and Found Resources page for even more tips and links.

It is extremely important to do these things as soon as your pet has gone missing, and some things daily, and don't give up, some people have even found their pets months later.

CALLS: Your police station and surrounding stations, rescues, animal control (city and county), veterinarians, and police departments - ideally within a 60 mile radius of where your pet went missing. Try to speak with someone, as messages are not always conveyed. If you believe your pet was stolen, be sure to say that as well.

Animal Control, police department and rescues receive a NEW intake of animals EVERY morning and night, so it is important to keep contacting them.

Many rescues may not be able to answer questions over the phone and sometimes, as everyone makes mistakes, Animal Control and rescues may list animals under the wrong breed and age. Therefore, it is always best to go to the shelters, and to the Animal Control, to look yourself. It is ideal to go to the places within a 20 mile radius of where your pet went missing.

KNOCK ON DOORS. Let your neighbors know what happened and tell them to keep their eyes peeled, or ask them if they know of somebody who may have picked up your pet. Let your postal carrier know as well.

DRIVE AROUND all the time... if there are forest preserves, trails and parks, even within a 60 mile radius, make sure you call out his/her name.

WALK AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD. If you have other dogs, walk them around, your dog might see you or them. Look in places you might not think of like under and behind bushes, ask your neighbors to look in their garages, it is easy for a pet to accidentally get trapped in a garage when the door is closed, and also under decks and sheds. Look up in trees for your cat.

FLYERS. Make colorful flyers and posters with a color picture, description, when and where she was last seen, your phone number and email address. Don't include your name or home address for safety reasons. If you post outdoors, put it in a page protector so that it endures the weather.
    Place one on your car window and see if friends will do the same.
    A flyer glued onto brightly colored poster board will most certainly get attention.
    Place a flyer on mailboxes or front doors in your neighborhood, and under doors of businesses in the area if allowed.
    Place a flyer or sign on your own mailbox.
    Ask local stores and businesses if they would post one in their break room.
    Leave flyers at all pet related businesses such as vets, groomers, etc (check this website for businesses).
    Post and leave some flyers not only locally, but in surrounding towns.
    Post at laundrimats, coffee shops, etc.
   Telephone poles
   Give flyers to the mail carrier, UPS driver, pizza delivery people, etc.

NOTE: Don't advertise the pet's name and other specific identifying information. If someone has stolen your pet, the last thing you want is to give them the name so they can make it look more like their own when they try to sell it. Also, if you put all of the specifics in your ad and a dishonest person spots a found ad on a different website that sounds like your pet they can try to claim your pet because they now know all of the details about him/her.

Ask rescues if, along with posting the flyer, you could post a biography and picture of your pet on their web page.

AD IN LOCAL NEWSPAPER. (lost and found section). If you post online, this does not automatically show up on hard copy newspapers.

TRAPS. Set out a humane trap in your yard or nearby with your pet's favorite food or treats, If you hear of a sighting, ask if you can place a trap in the area or yard.

Leave items of unwashed clothing with your own scent or blankets, etc. in the yard or nearby areas to attract the pet.

Search for cats at night when they are out, they tend to hide during the days.

CALL YOUR MICROCHIP COMPANY to see if someone has inquired or scanned your pet recently. Submit a report with them of your lost pet.

POST ON ONLINE SITES like Craigslist, as often as you can, enlist others, be pet - descriptive in your subject line, for example, Lost Yellow Lab and post as frequently as you can. Change the ad around each time to keep it fresh and attract attention from readers.

USE SOCIAL NETWORKING. Post on Face Book or Twitter, and ask your friends to do the same.

Following are more links where you can post... You can register your dog for free even before it gets lost. Then all you have to do is contact them and they start sending emails to vets,shelters etc right away.

Some people may not give a description or post a picture of the dog they find, so it is vital for you to contact any postings about a found pet, even areas that are far from you. You would be amazed at how much ground a pet can cover in just a little bit of time. They may be picked up by a good samaritan and end up many miles away.

Please don't dismiss or ignore a post that says a found pet, similar to your lost pet, or is found in an area that you don't live in. Or one that describes the color of your dog but is the wrong breed. Some people don't know the many dog breeds out there.

Send out a Pet Amber Alert and can instantly broadcast a personalized telephone message to homes and businesses in the area where your pet went missing. You can choose to broadcast the message to hundreds or thousands of your neighbors, depending on the plan you purchase. Amber Alert:

National Directory of Pet Detectives:


Don't give up - Continue the things you had started, leave food outside door and kitty litter sometimes this helps with the scent, keep replacing the pictures you already posted and find new places to post. DON'T GIVE UP - PERSISTENCE IS THE KEY!

You can find other tips on locating your lost pet:

Humane Society of the U.S.

Pet Harbor:
Finding Lost Dogs:
Missing PartnerShip: