Prevention is the best medicine.
Make sure your pet has identification: an ID and a rabies tag attached to his collar. (For cats, use breakaway collars for safety.) Tattoos or microchips may also be effective.
Have a picture available of your pet, or better yet, of you and your pet, in case you need a picture for identification.
Make sure your outdoor fence or enclosure is secure and can't be dug under or climbed.
Use locks on your fence or kennel to prevent theft.
If children walk the dog or care for the cat, make sure they can handle them. Animals can get away from a child. And if you will be away, consider a professional pet sitter to be responsible for your pets rather than a neighborhood child.
If a repair person or realtor will be in you home while you are at work, do not expect them to be responsible for your pets. Be sure your pet is secure and will not be disturbed.
But if the worst happens...
If you discover your pet is missing, do not wait to go look for it.
- Ask your neighbors whether they have seen it, and find out if it was alone or with a person or another animal.
- Be sure to notify the Humane Society, and check with them at least every other day.
- Put up posters with a picture and lettering big enough to be read from a distance. Eye level for the someone sitting in a car is a good height.
- Offer a reward to let potential finders know that this pet is a special part of your family.
- If the animal needs medicine for a medical condition, list that on the poster to emphasize how urgent it is to find your pet.
- Put posters in veternarians' offices.