Oh no, I’ve lost my pet!

By Patricia Durocher • 5 February 2019

What to do when you lose your pet.

You’ve put Pitou out in the yard to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, while you take a quiet moment to finish the dishes. You find Pitou strangely quiet for a dog who is normally very playful and vocal when playing outside.

A quick look outside, and no more dog!

That’s when panic sets in. You run out into the street, calling his name, shouting the word cookie, hoping he’ll come back, but nothing works.

Here are the next steps to help you find a little runaway:

  1. Tour your neighborhood with a bag of treats or a toy your pet loves. Call your pet by name. Ask your neighbors if they’ve seen it lately. Cats and dogs are often not hidden far away. Check garages, undercarriages, sheds and bushes
  2. Call your city’s customer service department, so they can give you the contact details of your city’s animal control shelter. Call this shelter and give a precise description of your pet and a photo.
  3. Make posters with a description of your pet, a photo, the date and place where you lost it, and your contact details. Post them on trunk boxes, bus shelters, in shops, pet shops, vets and your neighbors’ homes. Encourage citizens to call you with the promise of a reward.
  4. Report it missing on the Petluck website, which specializes in lost and found pets.
  5. Post your poster on your Facebook page and ask your friends in the area to share it to give it more visibility.
  6. Make regular rounds of your neighbourhood
  7. Search at night with a flashlight, as cats’ eyes become bright when illuminated in the dark. What’s more, fearful animals will wait until nightfall to come out of hiding.

It’s important not to lose hope. Some animals return home for several days after running away, just long enough to find their bearings. Above all, don’t wait until you notice your pet is lost to start the search process. In many shelters, animals are only displayed for 48 hours after arrival, and then transferred to another department for adoption.

Finally, you get that long-awaited call from your pet service thanks to the good description you gave them. A member of the public found your pooch playing in the yard with his children. You’ve had the scare of your life and you promise yourself to be more careful in the future.

Here are a few tips to help you with this new resolution:

  1. Spay or neuter your pet! A sterilized animal will be much less likely to run away, since it will have lost the desire to reproduce.
  2. Identify your pet with a tag and microchip. Even if it doesn’t prevent your pet from running away, identification ensures that citizens or our shelter can track you down if your pet is found. At Proanima, we find 100% of the families of identified animals.
  3. Keep an eye on your pet during outings. A pet can easily be distracted by another animal, a scent or a toy outside your property. By keeping an eye on your pet, you can be sure to call him back quickly when he wanders off. Also, remember that if your dog wanders off, it may be because he’s bored alone in the yard. Taking part in Fido’s release will save you a lot of trouble!
  4. Make sure your yard is secure. A poorly closed door, a broken fence, a large hole under the hedge are all great ways out, and sometimes even give your furry friend a little challenge.
  5. Finally, practice rappelling. Some animals take to the run easily, and certainly don’t like being yelled at to come home. By working with a reward and a lanyard, you’ll be able to condition your pet when you say a particular word like home, back etc.

Just a few simple steps you can take to make sure your furry little hearts stay by your side. Prevention is often better than cure.



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