There are few things more distressing to a dog or cat owner than when their furry friend doesn’t come home. But, our pets are part of our families, and we all will do whatever it takes to bring our pets home. So if your dog or cat has gone missing, what can you do?
Here are a few tips that can help you find your runaway pet, as well as a few tricks you can use to prepare ahead of time; if it should ever happen again.
Why Pets Disappear
It may be hard to wrap your brain around why your dog or cat hasn’t come home; you may even blame yourself for your pet’s disappearance. However, pets are loyal to a fault, and they depend on you. So rest assured that your dog or cat probably didn’t run away just to get away from you. Here are some of the most common reasons that pets go missing.
They get lost – Often when a dog or cat is out exploring, adrenaline takes over, causing them to chase a bird, squirrel, or other dogs and cats into unfamiliar territory, and before they know it, they are lost.
They escape – Dogs and cats are curious by nature. So an indoor pet may see an open window or a cracked door as an opportunity for an adventure, causing them to run outside. Sometimes though, they wander a little too far away and can’t find their way back home.
Reproductive periods – If your pet is not spayed or neutered, instinctively, they will eventually want to find a mate. In most cases, they aren’t going to find one inside your home, causing them to search elsewhere.
What to do Now?
It’s essential to act quickly when your pet disappears. Start by checking any places surrounding your home where your dog or cat may hide. You can also inform your neighbors about your runaway pet, asking them to keep an eye out for you.
Here are some other things you can do to locate your missing friend:
- The Humane Society of the United States recommends that you “File a lost pet report with every shelter within a 60-mile radius of your home and visit the nearest shelters daily, if possible.” If your pet is microchipped, you will be notified right away if your pet is found.
- Post lost pet posters around your neighborhood.
- Put food outside. Your pet is familiar with the scent of its food and will be attracted to the smell if it hasn’t wandered too far.
- For missing cats, put their litter box outside. Their litter has its own unique pheromones that can act as a homing beacon for your missing cat.
- Don’t panic! Hope is not lost! It’s not uncommon for dogs and cats to disappear only to come back days, weeks, or even months later.
Stay Ahead of the Game
The importance of having your pet microchipped can’t be stressed enough. Microchips maximize your chances of finding a lost pet as a chip is tied directly to your name and phone number, allowing an animal shelter to contact you if they find your pet.
You can even take matters a step further by purchasing a GPS-equipped collar for your dog or cat, allowing you to pinpoint their exact location if they ever go missing again.