Take a flash light with you even during the day so that you can check under balconies and sheds and other shaded areas where your pet may be hiding. Ask your neighbours for permission to look in their yards and give them your contact information in case they locate your pet.
Look in really high places, really low places, vast spaces and even tiny spots that you could never imagine your pet being. Check in closets, cupboards, inside mattresses and couches, knock on some walls in the house. In my experience working with a lost pet company in the past we have heard some wild stories about animals getting into some crazy tight or just whacky places.
Check under your vehicle and honk your horn before you drive away as smaller animals can crawl up into some hidden places under the belly of cars to hide especially in the winter when they want to remain warm.
Print as many posters as you can and put into local mailboxes, community boards, libraries, colleges, shopping centres, etc, all around town. Make sure to check on your posters on a regular basis to make sure the wind and rain did not wash them away.
Entice people by offering some sort of reward for your pet. You don’t have to list the exact reward, but stating that you have a reward for people who find them will increase the amount of people looking for your pet.
Organize a search party with friends and strangers
Create a facebook page/tweet, etc for your lost pet and ask friend’s to share.
Bring your pets favourite snacks, toys and other noise makers that they enjoy as a way to entice them.
Carry with you something of your own and your pets- whether it be their favourite pet blanket, or a shirt of yours that they like to sleep on. The dirtier/hairier the better. The reason for this for your animal to pick up your/their scent in the area and track it back towards home.
If you are missing a cat, place their litter dirty box directly on your step or if you have more than one cat and cannot do that, scoop some dirty litter into an open bag/box and place it onto the step. This may seem like a bizarre thing to do, but your cat’s own strong odors in the air will help him or her to track their way back home.
Remove anything in your yard that could frighten your animal such as wind chimes if that usually spooks them or anything that waves around such as a flag or clothing on a clothes line.
If you wish-sprinkle some food in a line leading up towards your door step. (not everyone agrees as it could attract other animals but the point of it is that it may also attract your own pet. This has personally worked for me when I lost my old cat, Spike)
Contact your local SPCA/shelters/Animal control as well as contact any rescues in the area and surrounding areas. If you do not know which rescues are in your area you can search online or call the SPCA and see if they have a list. Report your pet missing and send them a picture if you are able/if they accept photos. Make sure that you keep in contact with them at least every 4 days or so if you have not been called. I advise going into the shelters directly to search for your pet as the shelter’s tend to become very busy and overlook your case. Even if your pet is microchips a faulty chip or reader could mean that your pet may not make it home. This may be a bit of a sensitive topic but I also suggest when calling the SPCA also ask about any deceased pet’s that were found.
If you have a microchipped pet, make sure to contact the company ASAP and update your information. Even if you think it’s updated or that the shelter/vet/whomever microchipped your pet sent in your contact information- call anyway as sometimes paperwork becomes lost and pet’s aren’t fully registered. There is nothing more heartbreaking than a busy person who found your microchipped pet, contacted the microchip company and the only information on the chip is where the pet was microchipped and the finder of the animal let’s them loose again because the vet office is closed and they ‘don’t have time’ to hold onto the animal any longer, especially after expecting a quick fix. The next phone call could be a fatal one where a new finder has found the pet, but the pet was hit by a car. (I worked for a microchip company)
Always contact places not in just your area but other surrounding areas too. There’s been occasions where people have found pets on the side of the road, taken them into their vehicle, have driven miles/kms away from the original town and the animal escape into the wilderness before the finder’s good intentions could be fully fulfilled because the panicked dog or cat bolted as the car door opened.
Contact any vets in your area and in the surrounding area and let them know your animal is lost. Email them pictures if you can. Some good Samaritans not knowing much about animals may mistake your pet for an abandoned animal, especially if your pet has been missing for a while or has found it’s way into a muddy/bushy area and now looks rugged and worn. These good Samaritans then think they will adopt the pet themselves and get them a check up at the vet -than to bring them to a shelter where they fear the animal will be put to sleep. Even if your pet is microchipped please contract the vets because not all vets do mandatory microchip scans.
If your pet was recently lost and all of the shelters are closed, contact the local police (non 911 number. You can search for the non emergency line online) and explain your situation. “Hello, I’m missing my dog/cat. She just escaped and the shelter’s are closed.May I please leave my information and animal description with you in case someone calls the police to report them?” It’s been my experience that some police offices are very kind and will help out, especially in the smaller towns, other’s may send you away with a different number to call which is fine too. The more places you can contact, the better.
Use internet websites dedicated to lost animals to post pictures of your pet. Use websites such as craigslist and kijiji and other community boards. Post a lost pet ad, look in the found pet ads and as awful as this sounds, look for pet’s for sale. The unfortunately reality is that not all people have good intentions when they find a pet, especially when it comes to pure breeds and dogs. If you suspect your pet was found by someone and is being sold, do not contact the seller with a hostile voice. I suggest phoning the authorities and having someone accompany you to make sure you are safe.
Most of all- don’t ever lose hope. I have seen pets be reunited after years of being lost. I have some pretty incredible stories to share that I will make time to post at a later date.
I hope these tips have helped you.May your pet come home soon