Your precious pet was at your side just a few minutes ago — and now they’re nowhere to be seen. If you’ve frantically searched every room, closet, and hiding spot to no avail, it’s time to expand your search beyond the home.
The good news is: There are tons of resources, both online and off, to help reunite you with your furry friend. While your pet is on a little adventure, here’s what you can do to help bring them home.
Conduct a Quick Neighborhood Search
Immediately after you lose track of your pet, you should head outside and start searching around your yard and surrounding houses (with your neighbors’ permission, of course).
If you can’t find your pet after looking around the neighborhood, it’s time to start spreading the word.
Get the Word Out Online
You may be tempted to keep walking around and calling your pet’s name, but you can cover more ground by taking your search to the internet. With simple posts on different social media platforms and missing pet registries, you can enlist your community’s help and get the word out about your lost pet in seconds.
The Neighbors App by Ring is a great place to start, since it only takes seconds to notify your community. If you already have a Pet Profile created, all you have to do is switch on “Lost Pet Mode,” and the App will generate a post with pictures. The new Ring Pet Tag on your furry friend’s collar can also make it easier for others to reach you if your pet is lost. All someone has to do is scan the QR code on the Pet Tag, which will lead them to your Pet Profile and automatically send you an alert. Then, you can communicate anonymously to arrange a reunion without sharing your personal phone number.
Petco Love Lost is another easy-to-use resource that uses facial recognition technology to match your lost pet post with found pet listings. You can automatically share to Petco Love Lost from the Neighbors App when generating a Lost Pet Post, so you don’t have to go through the process twice.
The Humane Society also recommends making posts on your personal social media profiles and trying these databases:
Be wary of anyone asking for money to return your pet. If someone claims to have found your lost dog or cat, ask them to send a photo so you can confirm.
Follow These Additional Steps if Your Fur Baby Is Still Lost
If your lost pet post isn’t getting any attention and you can’t find your furry friend on an online database, here are a few extra steps you can take:
Cats and dogs tend to display different behavior when they’re lost, so you should tailor your next steps accordingly:
Tips to Help Find a Lost Dog
Your dog’s personality can play a role in your recovery strategy. If they tend to be excited and friendly, there’s a good chance someone will find them, make a social media post, and take them to a shelter. Consider visiting local shelters in person to see if you spot your dog — and continue calling and looking online frequently.
Shy dogs may hide behind shrubs or under cars and run away if someone spots them. You may want to expand your search to a larger area since they can run long distances when skittish. Include in your social media posts and signs that people should call with sightings instead of attempting to catch your dog. That way, you can head to the area they were seen and try to lure them with treats or their favorite toy.
Tips to Help Find a Lost Cat
Cats may be great at finding hiding places, but that shouldn’t deter you from searching your neighborhood. A study found that a physical search was the most successful recovery method, and most cats were found hiding under porches, cars, and other objects close to home. So, you may need to get on your hands and knees and search the crevices and nooks around you and your neighbors’ houses. Keep in mind that a lost cat often doesn’t respond to calls right away, and it may take a few days before they wander out of their hiding spot.
If you think your cat is hiding under the neighbors’ deck, but they won’t come out, the Humane Society recommends putting food and water near their hiding spot. Use a waterproof, motion-activated camera like Ring Stick Up Cam to see if and when your cat shows up to eat, and use a humane trap from your local hardware or pet store to capture them safely. Some cat parents have also found success by putting their cat’s favorite items outside, like blankets or scratching posts, and using familiar scents to attract them.
Cats sometimes return home on their own in the middle of the night. While you may want to camp out on an air mattress near the front door, you can also use technology to alert you when your sneaky kitty is nearby. Outdoor security cameras from Ring can send notifications when motion is detected, and you can check in on your phone to see if it’s your cat strolling towards the door. Video doorbells can also alert you when pets get close to the door, and if they’re extra clever, they may even try to ring the bell.
It’s easy to lose hope when your pet hasn’t returned home after several days. But even if it takes a little longer than you anticipated, there’s a good chance you’ll have a grand reunion. Keep checking comments on your social media posts and checking in with your neighbors.
Proactively Prepare and Help Prevent Another Escape
Once your pet returns home, you should focus on preventing another breakout. Remember that the odds of finding a lost cat or dog are higher if they’re microchipped, so be sure to visit the vet if your escape artist is unchipped. If you have a fence, you should also check to ensure there are no holes a curious animal can slip through. Always keep an eye on your pets when they’re outside, and use a well-fitting leash or harness they can’t get out of.
Losing a pet is stressful, but when you create a Pet Profile in the Ring App and link it to a Pet Tag ahead of time, you’ll have one less thing to worry about if your furry friend escapes. You don’t need any custom engravings with your personal information or batteries for Pet Tag to be effective — all you have to do is attach it to your dog or cat’s collar and link it to their Pet Profile. From the Ring App, you’ll be able to fill in information about your pet, including their age, gender, breed, weight, color, and any other details that might be relevant if they’re lost.
Once you add a few pictures, you’re ready to switch on Lost Pet Mode and generate a post with just a few clicks. And when someone scans the QR code on your pet’s collar and lets you know they’re safe, you can update your Lost Pet Post to let your neighbors know the search is over — like this post from Goose’s parent, who found their missing dog within ten minutes due to a helpful neighbor.
Check out Pet Tags today to learn how they can make it easier to find your furry friends — and download the Neighbors App to see if you can help any neighbors who need help finding theirs.