Lost Pet: What to Do When You Lose Your Cat or Dog

Lost Pet: What to Do When You Lose Your Cat or Dog

Responsible pet parents are naturally concerned about the health and safety of their beloved canines and felines.  This is why you go out of your way to protect them with fencing that keeps them in the yard, or by simply making them indoor pets.

Despite your best efforts, however, you may find yourself in a situation where your precious pet goes missing.  Maybe your dog digs under the fence line or your cat bolts out the door while you’re carrying an armload of groceries.

When your pet escapes, it’s only natural to panic.  With threats like cars, coyotes, or even well-meaning neighbors who take in your “stray”, you’ll start to fear the worst.  However, with quick and decisive action, you can increase your chances of bringing your dog or cat home safe and sound, and precautionary measures could make a world of difference.

When your pet goes missing, the worst thing you can do is freeze up or sit idly by and assume dogs and cats can find their own way home.  You need to take steps to locate your furry friend as soon as possible.  Here are a few tips to ensure you’re soon reunited with your loving companion.

Check with Your Neighbors

If your pet is lost, it could be hiding somewhere in the neighborhood, or perhaps one of your neighbors found your cat or dog sniffing around their property and invited the poor, lost soul inside.  Many people, when they see a domesticated animal wandering around, will try to help it find its home, taking it to their own home until the owner can be found.

As soon as you discover your pet missing, consider calling neighbors or knocking on doors within a few blocks of your residence.  Even if a neighbor doesn’t have your wayward pet, someone may have seen it leaving your house or running down the road, giving you information about which way to steer your search.  In order to cover ground more quickly, consider asking family, friends, and neighbors to help canvas the area.

Call Local Animal Shelters

If your dog or cat is found by a concerned citizen, but this person has no way to know who the owner is (if your pet has no tag or his collar came off), there’s a good chance your pet will end up being dropped off at the local animal shelter or veterinary office.  If your pet is chipped, professionals should be able to find owner information in a database and contact you, but it never hurts to get the ball rolling by calling local shelters and vets to see if any pets matching your description have been dropped off.  This is especially crucial if your pet isn’t chipped.

Put the Word Out on Social Media

These days, you can crowdsource the search for your missing pet in a number of ways by utilizing social media.  You can start by posting a pic of your cuddly cat or dog to your Facebook or Instagram accounts, along with details like the neighborhood you’re in (although you should never post your address) and the date and time your pet went missing.

You might also want to try a community social media platform like Nextdoor that facilitates the sharing of information of interest to neighbors within a local community.  This could help you connect to neighbors you don’t necessarily know and ask them to keep a lookout for your pet and report back if your pooch or kitty is spotted.

Post Flyers

Social media makes sharing and receiving information quick and easy, but not everyone in your neighborhood is on social media, or connected to you.  A combination of new technologies and old-school methodology will help you to cover all bases when it comes to searching for your lost pet.

Find a clear and current photo of your pet and use it to create flyers with information about your pet’s disappearance, as well as contact information.  Post them around your neighborhood and beyond so anyone who doesn’t see your social media posts has the opportunity to provide information about your pet’s whereabouts.

Planning for the Worst

The best way to find your lost pet is to plan for contingencies.  This means making sure your pet is chipped and that the contact information is up-to-date, as well as keeping a collar with a tag bearing contact information on your pet at all times.


To learn more about the team at Central Texas Animal Hospital, view our team page or contact us today to schedule an appointment! We offer veterinary services for cats and dogs in the Pflugerville/Austin-Round Rock, TX area.