For pet owners, losing a pet can be stressful and overwhelming.
When an animal goes missing, there are steps an owner can take immediately to track down their pet. Sandy Nelson, an Animal Services representative in Salt Lake County, said the first thing a pet owner should do as soon as an animal goes missing is to head to the streets.
“Drive or walk around your neighborhood calling your pet by its name," Nelson said. "If your pet has simply wandered off your property, it may be close by.”
Nelson said pet owners should use their neighbors and talk to people who may have seen the pet run off. The next step is to visit the nearest animal shelter.
“Visit your local animal shelters within 24 hours of losing your pet,” Nelson said. “Continue to visit your shelter every 48 hours.”
Social media can also be an effective way to locate a pet. Post photos of the animal on Facebook forums and local classified sites. Posting on social media can help spread the work quickly, Nelson said.
To speed up the process when checking in with the shelter, take a photo of the missing pet to show to workers, Nelson said.
“It’s a good idea to bring a picture of your pet and a copy of its current vaccines, if you can locate that information,” she said.
When a pet goes missing, hopes can drop. The most important thing is to stay positive, Nelson said.
“Don’t give up,” Nelson said. “Often a pet will not arrive in a shelter for weeks or sometimes even months after first becoming lost. Last summer our animal control officer picked up a stray cat that had been missing for a year. He was picked up a few blocks from his home.”
To prevent lost pets, pet owners should have a microchip placed in their domestic animals. These chips can be placed by any vet or at an animal control facility.
“Microchips are the most helpful for animal control and vet clinics in getting your pet back home to you,” Nelson said.