It’s no coincidence that more dogs and cats get lost this time of year than any other part of the year.
Holiday parties, Fourth of July Fireworks, BBQ’s, summer pool fun, vacations, and visitors mean more chaos in the household and more chances for scared, anxious, frightened, or excited dogs and cats to run away, run and hide, or just plain venture out when a gate is not closed or locked. According to the American Kennel Club, “…more pets go missing during July 4th weekend than any other time of the year.”
So, what do you do when you find a lost dog or cat?
Tips on Reuniting the Family Dog or Cat with its Owner
When you find a dog or cat that you believe is lost or displaced, it’s important to act in a timely manner. Chances are, the owners are looking for the pet as well, and trying to unite the two will ease the stress and anxiety for both the lost dog or cat and the owners.
Approaching a lost dog or cat should be done with careful precision not to cause injury or harm to you, the lost pet or your pet.
If a dog shows signs of being friendly, carefully approach the dog and look for a tag, collar, or other apparel such as a bandana that might include identification. If you find identification, call the number as soon as possible and text a picture of the dog for further confirmation.
If the dog is without a collar and allows you to either put a leash or collar on it, it’s best to isolate the dog in a confined space if you can. This time alone keeps your pets safe, calms the lost dog, and lessens the chance of either pet contracting diseases or fleas. Include a blanket or bed if you have one and food and water.
If you find a lost cat, carefully attempt to look for identification as well. Displaced or stray cats are extremely difficult to catch, and you should only attempt to do so if you have prior experience and the right clothing and a carrier.
Should the lost cat allow you to pick it up, quarantine it in a small space with a blanket, food, and water.
I Have the Lost Dog or Cat- What Do I Do Now?
If the lost dog or cat does not have an ID tag, call your vet and ask if you can bring the animal in to scan it for a microchip. Most vets will help you scan the animal; many rescue sources may even send a person to your home, thereby eliminating the stress from a trip to the vet.
If the pet is microchipped, contact the owners immediately and make arrangements to return the pet. Then congratulate yourself for successfully rehoming a lost dog or cat.
Advertise a Lost Dog or Cat
Social media is an excellent place to advertise a lost dog or cat. The Nextdoor app is also a great platform to use to share news of the lost dog or cat. Include several pictures of the dog or cat and a summary of what the dog or cat looks like.
Include the gender and color of the dog or cat and keep in mind that time away from home, the weather, mud puddles, and more can alter the color of the animal. Take notice of any unusual markings or behaviors that might distinguish the lost dog or cat from any other.
Also include the area you found the lost dog or cat, keeping in mind, lost animals can travel miles away. Of course, include a way to contact you-display several phone numbers, an email, a social media account, an address, or all of the above.
Put up fliers around the neighborhood with pictures, descriptions, and contact information.
Look on Sites that Advertise Lost Dogs and Cats
Be proactive in your search and contact your local animal shelters with a description of the lost dog or cat. Visit as many as you can if you have time and look through their book for postings that match the dog or cat you found.
Look for websites that post lost pets and be diligent in checking constantly. Sometimes an owner is unaware of their pet being lost due to being on vacation or traveling.
Contact rescue sites and nearby vets and pet stores in case the owner has been there looking for their pets.
Be sure to share with everyone you know that you have found a lost dog or cat and ask them to share this information as well.
Today’s technology makes the world a smaller space to reunite lost dogs or cats and shortens the time it takes to reconnect loved ones with their pets.
Keep Your Dogs and Cats Safe this Summer
If you are worried that company, your travels, or your busy lifestyle might be too much for your dog or cat, consider boarding them with The Ranch Pet Resort and Spa in Livermore’s beautiful wine country.