A pet parent’s worst nightmare is finding out your pet has run off and gotten lost.

According the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 15% of pet parents had lost a dog or cat in a span of 5 years, and about 93% of lost dogs were found, only 75% of lost cats made it back to their families. To help pet parents avoid this heartbreaking scenario, PetHub nominated July as National Pet Prevention Month.

Since July is Lost Pet Prevention Month, we’ve collected some important tips to keep in mind to avoid this nerve-wracking situation. But before we go into the details, it’s important to first know why pets get lost in the first place.



Here are the most common reasons why dogs or cats get lost:

They are anxious or scared.

Some pets can panic when they hear loud noises like fireworks and thunderstorms. They would go running off looking for a quiet and safe place to hide, and unfortunately some may find themselves running out of your home.

When you travel with pets, some dogs or cats that are not used to going out in new environments may become disoriented and scared, and this may lead them to run off and try to find their way back home. In some cases, they may not be able to.

They are curious.

Some pets, especially dogs, are natural, curious wanderers. Once they see an opportunity to go out, like an open door or a loose leash, they may escape and wander about.

They are trapped.

Some pets that are allowed outdoors to explore may find themselves trapped or stuck in some old building or enclosed area, and have no means to get out and go back home.

They are taken.

There are two sides to this scenario, one good and one bad.

On the good side, some pets, especially dogs, are natural escape artists and charm everyone they meet. A Good Samaritan will take the pet and try to look for the owner. He may bring the pet to a local shelter or vet, and try every means possible to reunite them with their owner.

Then, unfortunately, some pets do get taken or kidnapped. Some breeds are taken for use in illegal dog-fighting rings, and some other selfish people just want the pet for themselves. Pets that have access to your yard may be lured out with treats, and some that are left outside unattended are just a welcome invite for dog or cat-nappers.

They are displaced.

Emergency evacuations may leave a beloved pet homeless. Pets may become separated from their families in the panic or confusion in any emergency situation.

They are sick or hurt.

One of the most common lost cat situations in when a cat gets trapped somewhere. When cats don’t feel well, they tend to isolate themselves in a dark quiet place, sometimes away from your home.

Dogs that are allowed to explore outside may get in accidents or be attacked by another animal, making it difficult for them to return home.

They are in heat.

Pets that are not spayed or neutered have the tendency to try to look for a mate outdoors. Whenever they sense another dog or cat in heat outside, they may try to find every and all means to get out.

The best way to help a lost pet is to prevent the animal from going missing in the first place. 


How to Prevent Your Pet From Getting Lost

1. Collar and ID your pet.

All pets have a better chance of getting home if they always wear a collar and an ID tag with their owner’s name, address and telephone number. This simple step will make is easier for a Good Samaritan to find and reunite the pet with their family.

The collar should fit comfortably, but snugly enough that the pet can’t slip it off. You should be able to fit one or two fingers underneath the collar to ensure that it’s not too tight.

2. Make sure to supervise them well whether indoors or outdoors.

Keeping your pet indoors in your line of sight is one of the best ways to prevent losing your pet.

But whenever you are traveling with your pet or walking them outdoors, it’s best to keep a close eye on them. Make sure they’re on a leash, and their collar or harness fits them properly so they won’t have a chance to slip and run off during your walks. Don’t let your dog off leash if he’s not properly trained to go back to you.

3. Keep them comfortable during thunderstorms or fireworks.

If you know your pet is scared of loud or sudden noises like fireworks or thunderstorms, make sure that they have a safe and quiet place to hide and keep calm. There are also calming techniques and products to help relieve them of any stress or anxiety.

4. Keep your house escape-proof.

Always make sure that your doors and windows are closed to prevent your dog or cat from getting out and exploring on their own.

5. Spay or Neuter Your Pet

When your pet is fixed, they will have no need or inclination to escape and find another dog or cat in heat.

6. Microchip your pet.

Microchipping your pet greatly increases the chances that your pet will be identified when they are taken at your local veterinarian or shelter.

If ever you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of losing a pet, here are some tips that could help you find your beloved furbaby.


How to Find a Lost Pet:

Contact local animal shelters and veterinary hospitals

File a lost pet report with your local animal welfare shelters or veterinary hospitals. They may also help spread the word about your lost pet. Give them an accurate description and a recent photograph of your pet, as well as any information on where they were last seen.

Search the neighborhood

Walk or drive through your neighborhood streets several times each day. Ask your neighbors, shopkeepers and by-standers if they have seen your pet roaming around. Give them a recent photograph of your pet and your contact information for them to reach you if ever they do find your pet.

Advertise Online and Offline

Make sure to spread the word in your neighborhood and social media. You can put up posters in your neighborhood, veterinary hospitals, and other places near your home. You can also post about it on your social media sites so it can be easily shared by other people.

Make sure you post accurate and current information about your pet's sex, age, weight, breed, color and any special markings, and any information on when and where they were last seen. Make sure to leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who finds your pet to describe it.

Be wary of pet scams

When someone comes forward and claims to have found your pet, ask them to describe your pet thoroughly before you provide any information. If they leave out the one identifying characteristic you didn’t mention in your advertisements, they may just be getting money out of you. Be wary of people who insist on getting the rewards first before returning your pet.

Don't give up your search

Don’t lose hope. Some pets who have been lost for months have been reunited with their pet parents.

As pet parents, we all want to make sure that our best friends are safe in our homes. We hope that these tips would help keep your beloved pet from getting lost, or reunite with them in the unfortunate event that they do.