What do I do if I lost my dog or cat?

No one wants to lose his or her animals but you should be prepared for the event. Take a color full-body photograph of your pet at least once a year. This is of an immense importance and can help with locating and claiming your animal if it does disappear.

Take a really good look at your animal – can you describe it accurately? E.g. what sort of ears and tail does it have, what color are its’ feet? Is it long or short-haired? Does it have any unusual or distinguishing marks? (You’d be surprised just how many people can’t describe their pet in detail). If you can’t describe it, how can people identify it and help you find it?

Look at some lost and found registration platforms for the information that will help with identification.

Identification tags.

Some pets don’t have distinguishing marks – one short-haired black cat looks much like the next short-haired black cat – so this is where identification becomes so important.

The fastest way that anyone can get your pet back to you is if you pet is wearing an ID tag with your current phone number on it.

Check the tags your pet is wearing regularly to ensure they are still readable and don’t need replacing. Also check the collar itself for signs of wear.

Remember cats’ collars are usually elasticized for safety reasons (so they can slip out of them if they get caught on a tree branch or a fence). With time they can get stretched to the point that they are too loose and can become a health hazard to a cat. They should be replaced regularly.

Many cat collars have bells. These may help to protect birds in the nature, however the top priority is an ID tag. Some cats do remain successful hunters despite the bells.


Collars do get lost. Often dogs come into the shelters with collar marks but collar on, when they’re claimed we find out that the reason for it getting lost was the slipped or snapped collar. This is where microchips are so helpful.

Microchips can’t be lost (except in very rare circumstances usually involving gruesome injuries).

Some downsides of the microchips are scanning problems and failure of the owners to update information in a timely manner.

However, microchips are not a replacement to identification tags. Collar ID with a phone number is still the fastest way for your pet to return home as it is a very quick process to read the tag and contact the owner and the pet does not need to go to a shelter, animal control or a vet clinic to be scanned.

Animal shelters in the United States generally microchip dogs and cats before they are placed for adoption.

Keep your address and contact info up to date with the database registry.

It is very important if you have just moved. Pets often get lost because of the new surroundings, so it’s best to take care of it even before you complete the moving. Also prepare the new ID tags before you move and put them on as soon as you get to the new home.

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