It is every pet owner’s nightmare: losing your dog or cat. There are several things you can do when your pet has gone missing in order to get reunited as quickly as possible. Here are some tips.
The importance of chipping
In the Netherlands, you are required to have your dog chipped. This does not yet apply to cats, which is unfortunate since a chipped pet is a lot easier to reunite with its owner than an unchipped pet. When your pet is found and taken to a shelter, animal ambulance or vet, the staff can use a chip reader to read the chip. If properly registered and as long as the information is up to date, it won’t be long before you’ll receive a message that your pet has been found. Having a pet chipped will set you back between €20 and €50 on average and your vet will be able to get it done.
Tip: Are you planning to relocate? Or adopting a cat that has already been chipped and registered to a different owner? Always update the data on the chip.
Get in touch with the shelter/animal ambulance
Your pet may have already been found by someone and this person may have consulted a shelter or animal ambulance in the neighbourhood. If your dog or cat is unchipped, the shelter can’t reach you and you’ll never know that your pet has been found. That is why you’ll have to call or email them with a detailed description and photos if possible, so they can verify whether your pet has been found ASAP.
Reach as many people as possible
It is vital to spread the word about your missing pet to as many people as possible, as well as how to reach you if someone finds it. Social media play a hugely important role in this regard. Share a missing pet message on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Special groups for your neighbourhood or city can prove very useful too; ask people in the area to keep an eye out for your pet and increase your reach by asking people to share the message.
Tip: put up posters in the neighbourhood so anyone who spots your cat or dog knows where to reach you.
Lure your pet
It might help to set up a lure in the garden. Place a cardboard box in a sheltered spot and hide some food for your dog or cat inside, as well as a blanket or stuffed animal with a familiar scent. Your pet might return to this spot after a couple of days.
Lost your pet? Go looking
Last but not least, you can go out and look for it yourself. Go around the neighbourhood and check any gardens as well as sheltered spots, flat entrances and vestibules. Call your pet, bring some snacks and try to lure it your way.
Tip: A lot of owners are anxious about letting their kitten outside for the first time. Here are some tips on what to keep in mind when letting your cat outside for the first time