Every pet owner dreads the day they realise their much loved pet is lost or missing. Having the right knowledge of what to do in this situation could be the edge you need to get your pet returned to you safely. Petplan takes a look at how to minimise the risk and what to do to ensure the safe return of your pet if they do wander off, as well as what you can do if you find a lost pet.
Microchipping for cats and dogs is now compulsory in VIC, NSW, ACT, QLD and WA, and only compulsory for dogs in Tasmania. With saying this, we recommend microchipping your pet so that in the event they become lost and get handed in to a charity or a local vets, they can easily be identified by scanning their microchip and be returned to you.
However, it’s vitally important to ensure you keep your contact details up to date with the microchip provider – especially if you have recently moved.
What to do if Your Pet Goes Missing…
- Cats can often find unusual and fairly concealed places to hide in the house – washing machines, tumble dryers, the loft, on tops of wardrobes – so make sure you search the house first. Once positive they are not inside, search the garden and surrounding areas calling their name. Try shaking biscuits in a bowl, or leaving their favourite treats around outside. Pay particular attention to sheds, greenhouses, store cupboards and garages as they may have got accidentally shut-in.
- Dogs can sometimes slip their lead or escape from the back garden when spooked by loud noises such as fireworks or thunder. In the majority of cases they are usually nearby and may have taken refuge in a quieter spot. If your dog has a collar with your contact details, ensure you take your phone with you before you start your search. If the collar includes your landline number make sure someone is at home in case anyone should call or your dog returns home by themselves. If you are on a familiar walk when your dog goes missing, go back to areas they particularly enjoy such as a pond or river.
- Spread the word as soon as possible. Speak to your neighbours, let them know about the situation and ask if you or they can search for your pet in their garden, shed and garage. Cats are particularly prone to getting locked in sheds and garages after finding a nice peaceful spot to sleep.
- If this is not successful, drive around the neighbourhood slowly and methodically, calling out your pet’s name.
- If your search remains unsuccessful contact local vets and charities to check if your dog or cat has been handed in or found and ensure you leave a description and your contact details.
- Post to all your social media’s. The internet has become a powerful utility in recent years and is the easiest way to spread the word to a large community. Ask your friends to share your post about a missing pet so it can reach a larger audience and increase the chance of finding your dog or cat.
- The next step is to produce posters to make the wider community aware. Ensure they are large, clear and bold, with a recent photo of your pet and a short description. Be sure to include your contact details and perhaps offer a reward (Petplan’s dog insurance policies cover between $1,000 – $2,000 depending on the policy type, for advertising and a reward for missing pets).
- Ask local shops for permission to put posters up in their windows and it’s also worth making smaller copies to post through people’s letterboxes.
- There are a number of free online lost pet registers to help reunite you with your lost pet.
- If your pet is chipped, call the microchip supplier to register your pet as missing and ensure your contact details are up to date so, should anyone find your dog and the microchip is scanned, they can contact you as soon as possible.
Being patient is the key to finding your pet, don’t stress or overthink the situation. In many lost pet situations, it may take a couple of days for you to finally be reunited with your pet. So remember to never give up on them, be through with your search efforts, and always be near your phone in case a call comes through.