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What to do when your pet is lost

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Maybe they have slipped a leash. Or someone left a gate open. They escaped out of an open door, or jumped out of the car and ran. However they did it, your beloved pet is now missing. Before you panic, here are some of the best ways to recover that lost pet.

Be proactive

Although most “found” pets are not wearing a collar, always make sure your pet is wearing a collar that fits. There should be updated rabies tags on the collar and a tag that reads “reward if found” with your current phone number.

Have your pet microchipped. There are different microchip companies with different databases, according to the American Humane Society. “Microchips are tiny transponders, that use radio frequency waves to transmit information about your pet. They're implanted just under the skin.”

Keep your pet’s information in a ready file. Information such as shot records, medical information, AKC registration, adoption papers, etc.

Keep an updated photo of your pet. You should have a photo of both sides and the front. Know your pet’s weight.

If the pet goes missing

Don’t panic! Write out a list of “to do” and ask a few friends to help you.

Make a flyer with a good, clear photo of your pet with the word “REWARD” and include your contact phone number, the pet’s description (age, sex, weight, breed, color), and if the pet is microchipped. Also note if they have on a collar or any special markings.

Send copies of these flyers to the following businesses within a 50 mile radius of where the pet was last seen.( 50 miles? Yes - it is amazing how far a pet can/will roam. Certain breeds, like Beagles and Huskies, may roam further)

Pet stores

Veterinarians

Animal Shelters

Feed stores

Your letter carrier

Local dog shows, pet expos

Use the internet. There are Facebook pages like Donelson Lost Pets. Use Facebook pages specific to your breed (I love Bullys, etc.). Tweet, email, and multimedia.

Place ads in all local papers and craigslist.org.

Here are a few webpages to use:

The Center for Lost Pets

Fidofinder

FindToto

PetAmberAlert

Drive or walk the area and keep a handful of flyers to hand out to anyone you see walking or outside. Most folks will be glad to assist.

Do not give up! Read this story about how a dog was returned to his family after 10 years. And here is a pet turtle found after 30 years.

Photo of J. Yates credit

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