In part one; http://groomwise.typepad.com/pet_first_aid_care/2011/06/oh-no-wheres-fluffy-part-one.html , I discussed the importance of identification for pets. In part two, I'll cover what to do in the event your pet is missing.
But first, make sure he's really lost. Check behind and under furniture; especially recliners, appliances, mattresses, and access panels. If it's your cat that's missing, also check the attic and nearby trees. When you determine that your pet is no where to be found, you want as many eyes as possible looking for him. You have many options available to you, including for hire services.
Start with contacting as many establishments and agencies as possible within a 60 mile radius. How far your pet travels depends on its size and health. A medium sized, healthy dog can travel as much as 5 miles in one day. In a week, he could conceivably travel 35 miles. Establishments and agencies being animal shelters; both private and public, veterinarians, pet stores, grooming shops, and rescue groups.
Here is where the services shine. They are equipped to get the word out fast and to many.
1. Your microchip company. Keeping a current photo on file before your pet is lost will save time. We've all seen the wall of lost pets at our vet's office. Which ones do you pay attention to? The generic or the actual photo of the missing pet. If your pet is not microchipped, he should be. The two biggest microchip companies are www.homeagain.com and www.avidplc.com.
2. Blanket ID. This is a new company. You purchase a tag, register it, upload a photo and design a lost pet poster before it's needed. The first year is free. Their website is www.blanketid.com.
You can download and print lost posters from both the microchip company and Blanket ID.
3. Phone services; such as www.amberpetalert.com, www.lostmydoggie.com, and www.findtoto.com, call every business and residence within a radius of your lost pet. You never know whose backyard your pet is passing through.
4. There are phone apps such as one from www.pettech.net that are capable of alerting area vets and shelters.
But, there is a limit to what the services can do. The rest is up to you.
1. Get those posters out into the community. The grocery store, community centers, dog parks, telephone poles in high walking traffic areas, and at traffic intersections. If you place them at intersections, make sure the lettering is big enough to read while waiting at a red light. Don't forget to put some at children's eye level. They can be more observant than adults when it comes to animals. Make sure you put two phone numbers, with at least one being a cell. You don't want someone to call with a sighting on you home phone while you are out looking for him. If you live in a bi-lingual area, add contact info in that language. Offering a reward gives people who wouldn't normally be on the lookout an incentive.
2. Talk to people who are on the road all day. Mailmen, lawn services, Fedex, UPS, mobile groomers, and pet sitters. Give them a poster to keep in their vehicles.
3. Leave an outgoing message on your voicemail requesting date, time, and location of any sightings. Be aware that when you put your phone number out there, there is a possibility of scammers preying on your hope.
4. Place something with his scent; such as bedding or a toy, along with food and water outside. Their sense of smell is greater than ours. If they are close enough, it may be enough to guide them home.
5. Search for your pet when the streets are quiet. Early morning and late evenings are best. Too much traffic noise may hinder their ability to hear you. Bring a favorite toy or treat when you do.
6. Contact the Department of Transportation. It is an unfortunate fact that your pet may have been hit by a car. It's their job to remove the bodies and they do keep records.
Above all, do not give up. They are waiting for you to find them.