Preventing and Dealing With a Lost Pet

It’s something every pet owner fears. Here’s how to keep some peace of mind.

Young man walking his leashed dog in park

You can prevent your dog from getting lost outdoors by keeping him on a leash.

One of the fears that all pet owners share is that their beloved animal companion will get lost. In all areas, from cities to farms, and for all pets, from mice to reptiles, getting lost is a serious threat. Because of this, it is important that you know how to prevent a pet from getting away or getting lost, and that you know how to handle the situation if it happens. Here are some steps you can take to make you feel more prepared:


Most loss prevention tips are fairly obvious, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them seriously.


  • When you take your dog out, make sure he has a sturdy leash on.
  • If you are going to let your dog run around in the yard, make sure the fence is tall enough to contain him. Be sure to be on the lookout, though, for open gates, holes, and other places through which your dog could escape.
  • Make sure your dog has up-to-date identification on at all times, most notably on his collar. You should include his license, rabies information, and ID, including all information that will be needed to return him home. You should also consider getting a microchip implanted that carries this information.
  • When your dog is inside, make sure you keep your doors closed, and keep an eye on the dog if a lot of people are coming in and out of the house.
  • If you want to take your pet on vacation, make sure he is obedient and responsive enough before you go. When on vacation, always keep your dog on a leash and within eyesight.

Small animals, birds, and reptiles

  • Make sure your pet’s cage is safe and secure, as well as making sure it is the right type of cage for your pet.
  • When you take your pet out to play, try to put him in a confined area from which he cannot escape.
  • Try to keep the doors closed in the room where you keep your pet. If you have a bird, make sure to keep the windows closed as well.

Finding a Lost Pet

The most important thing to remember if you lose your pet is to stay calm. Panicking will make you less productive and won’t provide an environment your pet wants to come back to. Besides that, though, there are some other things you can do:

  • Woman putting up missing cat sign to help find her lost pet.

    Spread the word of your lost pet by posting flyers with a photo of her.

    If it’s a small pet, check any crevices in which he could hide himself. This could include vents, behind appliances, and underneath furniture. Also, make sure to seal off the room you believe he is lost in and entice him to come out with food.

  • Check your neighborhood, and try to enlist the support of your neighbors in finding him. When searching, call your pet’s name, and carry some treats and a toy of his to entice him to return.
  • Put up flyers, and contact local radio stations to spread the word about your lost pet.
  • Call animal shelters, veterinarians, police stations, and other sources that may have found your pet.
  • Try offering a reward for finding your pet, but beware of scams.

Losing a pet can be very stressful, but the cooler you keep the better chance you will have of finding him. Patience and awareness are the keys to both preventing a lost pet, and finding one.