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Finding lost pets (Photos)

If you lose your pet, organize a search right away.
If you lose your pet, organize a search right away.
ESFOA File Photos

Your pet is lost and you are frantic to find her... what to do? First, If your pet is microchipped make sure the registration information is up to date.

Next, begin an organized search immediately. Enlist friends, family and neighbors to help. Follow the guidelines below:

If it's a dog that is lost, take another dog you own dog or a friend's pet out on a leash. Walk with that dog as "bait" in area where pet is lost. This may attract the lost dog, especially if they are housemates.

Make up at least 200 flyers using brightly colored paper. Give flyers to everyone you see.

Get the word out!

Canvass your neighborhood, your pet may be with a neighbor or they may have found your pet and taken it to a shelter. Ask everyone you meet to help you find your pet.

If you have a neighborhood, condo owners association, or community association or you have a neighborhood directory, see if you can send out an email blast to residents.

Give flyers to letter carriers, school crossing guards,utility workers and others who are often out and about in the neighborhood. Post flyers anywhere you are allowed to do so. Leave flyers with nearby business owners.

Post the lost pet on facebook, ask local FB friends to do the same. Be sure you list contact information. Also post on facebook on the "lost and found" pages, as well as "pet" groups and neighborhood pages. Post on any Facebook page where locals and pet lovers might see it.

Check with animal control offices, animal shelters and police within a minimum 50 mile radius of where the pet was last seen - go even farther away if in a rural area. You must physically go to the shelters. If a shelter employee checks for you, they may not describe your pet the way you do. And not all shelter workers know all the different dog/cat breeds.

Contact area veterinarians and give them a description of your pet and your contact infoAlso stop by and give them a flyer or fax it to their office.

Immediately post ads on Craigslist's "lost and found" as well as their "pets" page and the other lost dog sites listed below as well as any others you might find. Provide a brief, accurate description of your pet and list the intersection nearest to where she was lost as well as your contact information.

Check Craigslist "Pets" section for pets being sold and given away -someone may have found your pet and is trying to rehome it.

Note: Offering a reward for safe return is a good idea as it makes the ad stand out and gives people an incentive to help you find your pet. $100 is a good reward. Use caution if someone asks to meet you to give you your pet and collect the reward, ask to meet inside a local poilice station or animal shelter.

Check these lost and found websites and any others you can find. Be sure to list your lost pet on these sites as well.

Consider using a paid service such as Pet Amber Alert Note: Do not rely only on this service to contact your neighbors and local businesses

Get out and search for your pet. Stay in one place as you call the pet's name. If you are driving and calling, she may become confused and give up trying to come to you-as your location keeps changing. In winter concentrate your physical search between 7 and 10am. In hot weather months search in the early morning between 8 and 10am and in the late afternoon and early evening when it is cooler.

In rural areas, walk fence lines in case the pet has become hung up trying to go over a fence. Also walk wooded areas and along creeks. Look near water sources such as ponds and lakes. In winter you may be able to track paw prints in fresh snow.

Put a "marker" outside the front and back entrances to your home. This can be a favorite toy of the pet, a t-shirt or scarf you have worn and not washed, any item with your scent on it. You might also place your pet's favorite toys outside the door or gate.

Post large signs at major intersections nearest where the pet was lost. Also make up large "lost" posters tack up in store windows, on poles etc. Consider staging a demonstration where you and a group of friends stand at a major intersection with signs.

Tell everyone you know about your lost pet. They may know someone who knows someone who has seen the pet.

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