What do I do when I've Lost a Pet?

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Losing a pet is a stressful experience for any pet owner. What's most worrisome is that when pets are lost, their safety is temporarily beyond our control, which can make a person feel pretty helpless. Fortunately, there are may steps that can be taken immediately after discovering a pet is lost, to help bring him or her safely home.

Contact Animal Agencies
Immediately telephone all local humane societies, as well as animal care, control and protection organizations within a large radius of where you pet went missing, and file a lost pet report. Pets often stray farther from home than their owners believe possible. If there is no shelter in your area, contact your local police department. Visit your local animal control facility or shelter every 24 hours to search.

If you live in or near the City of Edmonton, check with the City of Edmonton Animal Services Department by calling 311 to see if your pet has been turned in. You may visit them in person at 13550 163 Street during their operating hours, or you can check their website here to view all the lost and stray animals being held at the facility. You can also look at the lost animals currently in care at the Edmonton Humane Society

Notify Others 
Call your local veterinary clinics, especially those that offer boarding. Injured pets are often takendirectly to a veterinarian for care prior to transfer to an animal shelter. In the City of Edmonton, don’t forget to check with VetEmerg at 780-423-9111 and Guardian Veterinary Centre at 780-436-5880.

Search the Neighborhood
Walk and/or drive through your neighborhood several times every day. Question neighbors, joggers, postal carriers, garbage collectors and newspaper carriers and ask them to keep an eye out for your pet. 

Post fliers at all public places - grocery stores, community centers, churches, etc. Place an ad in the classified section of your local paper. Offer a reward if possible. Caution: To protect yourself from pet-recovery scams, leave out one of your pet's identifying characteristics so you can verify the honesty of any caller who claims to have found your pet.

If you think your pet has been stolen, file a report with the police
Even if there have been suspected cases of pet theft in your area, don't automatically assume that your pet is the latest victim. Pets are far more likely to stray from home and get lost. However, if you have evidence that leads you to believe your pet has been stolen, notify your local policeand animal control departments immediately.

Use The Power of Scent
Place a recently worn article of clothing in your yard. For cats that usually stay indoors, place their litter box outside. Familiar scents can bring them home.

Don't Give Up
Keep searching and checking with animal agencies even when you have little hope left. Animals that have been lost for months or years have been reunited with their owners.

And The Next Time...
Make sure your pet has proper identification so that you can be located if your pet becomes lost again. EHS also recommends that you keep your cat indoors or on a harness and your dog contained or leashed.