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Pet security: what should I do if my pet becomes lost?

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Whether it is lost or stolen, losing a pet is an agonizing experience.

Even the most responsible pet owners can face unexpected circumstances that cause their animals to accidentally stray. This is especially true during summer when windows and doors tend to be open.

The following are solutions if you've lost your pet and common types of identification that can mean the difference between life and death for your best friend. Remember, with each of these methods, it is imperative to keep your information up to date.

What should I do if my pet becomes lost?
If your pet does become lost, don't delay. Take the following steps to help bring your companion animal home to safety.
 

  • Act fast! Don't waste days hoping your pet will come home. The sooner you begin your search, the better the odds of finding him.
  • Search your neighborhood or the area where your pet was lost and let people know she's missing.
  • Call your pet's name and check any places she could have become trapped, such as in basements or garages or under vehicles. A lost pet often will hide during the day, so be sure to go out again at night with a flashlight and call for her.
  • Sometimes a can of food can lure a hungry and scared pet to you.
  • Check with your local shelters every day. Don't just call -- also visit the shelters to search for your pet. Many animals are difficult to describe over the phone, and only you really know what your pet looks like.
  • Call all animal control agencies in your town and surrounding areas. Animal control officers work through the police department and pick up stray animals. Call them or check their shelters at least every two days.
  • Use your pet's photo to make "lost pet" signs. Put them up in your neighborhood and in post offices, libraries, pet supply stores, veterinary offices and grocery stores. Inform your veterinarian and groomer that your pet is lost in case they receive a call.
  • Place ads in local newspapers and offer a reward in case someone found your untagged pet and was thinking of keeping her.
  • Watch the found ads. Respond to any that might be close to your pet's description. A week of wandering the streets can make white pets look drab gray, and the ad's description might not exactly fit.
  • Call local radio stations. Some radio stations will broadcast lost pet information for free. Give them very detailed information on where your pet was lost, his description, and how to contact you.
  • Visit the websites of national locator services Petfinder.com and Pets911.
  •  

Remember that pets wearing ID tags increase their chances of finding their way back home.

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