A lost pet can be a stressful situation for both the animal and their family. Follow the steps below or watch our video for more information. Have you found someone’s pet? Learn what to do.
5 steps to follow when you lose a pet
1.) Search the neighbourhood
Search the area in which your pet was lost: Walk or drive through your neighbourhood several times a day, especially early in the morning and at dusk when it is quieter. Call your pet’s name and try shaking a bag of their favourite treats.
Ask around: Talk to neighbours, store owners, joggers, garbage collectors, mail carriers and others. Ask them to be on the lookout for your pet. Your pet may be nearby but too scared to come out, even for you. Ask neighbours if you can search in nearby bushes, garages or sheds.
Try the power of scent: Place a recently worn piece of clothing or one of your pet’s favourite toys outside. Animals have a keen sense of smell and familiar smells can bring them home. For indoor cats, try placing their litter box outside.
Put up posters: Create an eye-catching “lost pet” poster. You can make one for free when you create an account with the BC SPCA Pet Search. Include a photo, description of the animal, where they were lost and a contact phone number. Post these in as many places as possible near the area in which your pet was lost (grocery and corner stores; local parks; telephone poles, etc.)
2.) Use the web
Post to social media: Use Facebook or Twitter to circulate photos of your pet. Include details such as the area in which they went missing, the day/time of the incident and your contact information. Encourage your friends to share the photo on their page.
Search online: There are websites dedicated to helping lost and found animals return to their guardians. On sites such as the BC SPCA Pet Search, you can create a free account to post a listing or search Found Pet profiles posted by fellow users. You can also search pets brought in as strays to select BC SPCA locations.
- BC SPCA Pet Search (search found animals at the BC SPCA, create a free poster and a “lost pet” post)
- Missing Pets in BC (search found animals and create a “lost pet” post)
- Craigslist (search found animals and create a “lost pet” post)
- Petsearchers Canada (pet detective and tracking service)
3.) Update your pet’s ID registration information
If your pet’s microchip, tattoo or license is registered with the BC Pet Registry, our provincial ID database, you can update your information online or contact our call centre at 1-855-622-7722.
If your pet’s microchip, tattoo or license is registered with a veterinary clinic or municipality, please contact them to make sure your information is up to date.
4.) Visit BC SPCA shelters, animal control and veterinary clinics
Often shelters have several animals matching your pet’s description. Visit the shelter every 24 hours rather than calling.
Check BC SPCA shelters: Find out if your local BC SPCA takes in stray animals. All stray animals brought to BC SPCA shelters can be found online using our pet search.
Check animal control (City Pounds): Visit your local city pound or call them to see if an animal matches your pet’s description.
Check veterinary clinics and animal hospitals: If your pet was found injured, they may be at a nearby veterinary clinic or animal hospital.
5.) Don’t give up searching for your pet!
Continue to search for your pet even if you think there is little hope. Many animals who have been lost for months or years have been reunited with their guardians.
Was your pet stolen?
If you have evidence that leads you to believe your pet was stolen, contact the police on their non-emergency line. Permanent identification, such as tattoos or microchips, can help authorities track your animal.