Lost Animal Tips

Lost Animal Tips

St. Francis

Here are a few lost animal tips and suggestions to assist you.


Missing Dogs – perform a thorough search of your house, garage, yard, behind bushes, under the house.  Check your fences for holes or loose boards, then check it all again.  Ask for another pair of eyes to help you.  When we are upset we do not see things clearly.

Missing Cats – search the house, garage, attic, closets, top shelves in the closets, under the bed, turn the furniture over, open any drawer you opened lately, crawl spaces under the house, and basement.  Call their name softly, wait a few minutes and then search everywhere again.  They can be in the house and not feel like answering.

When you are out searching, carry a flashlight, animal food, leash or cat carrier. Be prepared in case you find your animal and it needs assistance.  Do NOT attempt to carry your animal in your arms.  Be sure to look in all small obscure, remote places and at your animal’s eye height.

Talk with the children and each of your neighbors, give them a flyer and ask them to keep an eye open.

Check the local parks & anywhere where your animal can get food and water.  Animals will drink out of the street.

Places To Contact

File a missing animal report with Animal Control within 20 miles of where your animal went missing, may be available online.  Check their found animal and recovered body lists every day, but they may not be up to date.  It is important to look at all the found animals even ones you do not think match the breed of your animal. 

These facilities do their best however, an animal’s description, type, breed or sex may be listed incorrectly and may not ever be corrected in their system.  Due to facility overcrowding, dogs may be euthanized after 3 days and cats will vary by shelter and state.

Contact Local Vets & Animal Hospitals within a minimum 20 mile radius.  Ask to either leave a flyer or post a flyer on their bulletin board and when it is convenient for you to call them.

Contact any Humane Society within 60 miles, and lost pet rescue groups in your area.

If your animal is micro chipped, contact the microchip company immediately and make sure they have your updated information.

Place a Lost Animal ad in the local newspapers, Craigs List, Facebook groups and other social media.  Check the lost and found ads in the local newspapers.

Take an active role in the search for your animal, do not rely on others or social media as the predominant means to find your animal.

Register with all online lost animal groups.


Make a flyer & poster with your animal’s picture and name, your phone number and location lost.  Give a flyer to each of your neighbors 360 degrees from the location your animal went missing.  You’ll receive better results if you connect with the person face to face versus leaving a flyer on their doorstep.  It is federal offense to put anything in someone’s mailbox.  If you have a homeowner’s association, contact them to notify all the residents.

Ask permission before placing your flyers in public places, local businesses, grocery stores, gas stations etc. Placing posters or flyers on busy street corners most likely will not be seen unless people are out walking or stopped.  Most drivers are busy talking on their phones or thinking and do not notice posters or flyers along the road.

Ask your mail person, UPS, FedEx, OnTrac, bus drivers, trash collector and other delivery drivers if they would take a flyer and contact you.

  These sites have several designs of posters to download for free: PosterMyWall, FindToto or PawBoost

Offering A Reward

If you choose to offer a reward please do not put an amount on your flyer as there are many con artists that are only interested in the reward.  If you’ve posted a reward amount on your flyer, when someone contacts you, ask them to send you a picture of the animal they found.  When you go to pickup your animal I suggest you take someone with you and meet in a public place.  Most animal lovers will not be motivated by a monetary reward, their reward will be that the animal is back with its family.

 Things You Can Do

It’s important to stay as calm as possible, mentally send your animal loving thoughts saying I love you.  The amount of time your animal is gone is not the main concern.  Animals instinctively know how to survive.  Keep your thoughts positive and when you go out looking get calm first.  The thoughts you are thinking are like a tsunami going out before you and are received by your animal.

When your animal is found, please remove all posted material on and offline and update animal control, vets and other agencies you contacted.

Humane Traps

You can contact rescue groups in your area to see if they would loan out one of their traps, or purchase one – check your pet stores or online.  By using a pet carrier you won’t be able to keep them trapped inside.  Place the trap in a secluded area of your yard, close to the house, under a bush, your front or back porch, anywhere that will provide some protection and be away from foot traffic. 

For the bedding place an item of your worn clothing inside as well as some fresh food and water.  Cover the trap with a blanket preferably one with your scent on it.  If it is raining also secure a tarp over the top to keep it dry.  Check on the trap every hour or so.  If you catch another animal set it free without scaring it, replace the bedding, food and water.