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Lost pets: what to do if your pet goes missing

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Missing pets cause their owners all kinds of worry and stress. So what should you do if you lose yours?

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Realising your pet is missing is a pet owner’s worst nightmare, but it’s important to know what to do should it happen. The quicker you act, the more likely you are to find your pet safe and sound.

Read on for our six tips to help you work out what your next steps should be if your pet goes missing.

1. Dig out a few recent photos

This will help when it comes to sharing that your pet is lost. You can text or email these photos to friends, family and neighbours, share them on social media, or make them into notices to print and stick up around the local area and on noticeboards.

2. Spread the word in your area

Tell your neighbours your pet is lost. This is particularly important if your pet finds its way almost all the way home. If your neighbours know your pet is lost, they’ll know who to contact if it suddenly turns up in their garden or on their doorstep.

If there’s a particular spot you often take your dog on a walk, or somewhere you know your cat likes to go regularly, take a look to see if they’ve gone there. What might seem at first to be a missing cat might just be a cat that’s hidden away in its favourite nook in the house. If you know any other people from your daily dog walks, ask them to keep their eyes peeled for your furry friend too.

3. Make people aware through social media

If you’re on any social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, this is a great time to make the most of your contacts. Share any recent, clear photos you have of your pet, along with its name and where it was last seen.

If it has any distinguishing features or quirky character traits, mention them too as it will make it easier for people to know they’ve found your pet.

It may be helpful to register your lost dog on the website Dog Lost. You should also check this website in case someone has shared that they’ve found your dog, since it works both ways. 

4. Make some phone calls

There are several people and organisations you should call if you’ve lost a pet:

  • Contact your local council to see if your dog has been picked up as a stray by the local authority dog warden.
  • Call the local kennel, animal shelter or animal charity if there are any nearby.
  • Contact local vet surgeries or animal hospitals to check if your pet has been taken in with an injury.
  • Call the police if you think your pet has been stolen.

5. If your pet is microchipped… 

Call the database your pet is registered with if you have a dog or any other pet with a microchip. Make sure they know your pet is lost.

From 6 April 2016, it was made compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped. This means it should be much easier to return a dog to its owner, since the owner’s information should all be there.

Although cats don’t legally have to be microchipped, it’s a good idea to do so. Since cats are generally out of the house alone much more than dogs are, this makes it even more relevant.

6. Keep your phone on you at all times

If anyone tries to contact you about your missing pet, you won’t want to miss their call due to having left your phone at home. If you head out to search for your pet, make sure you take your phone so you can follow up any possible leads while you are already out and about.

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