Finding a stray dog or cat along the road, in your yard, or elsewhere can really throw you for a loop. What should you do now? Do you skip work? Do you put them in your house? Just what do you need to do to get this pet back to their owner?! This time on the Acoma Animal Clinic blog we’re going to give you some quick, actionable advice to help you reunite the lost pet with their owner!
First, make sure that you are approaching any strange animal safely, slowly, and cautiously. You do not know this animal’s story, you don’t know it’s health or life. So be safe! Assuming everything goes well and you have them on a leash or in your home or yard now what?
The Lost Pet Reuniting Guide
Most lost dogs are found within a mile of their home, with something like 80-90% of them being reunited with their owner within a day so long as they are kept in a safe place. With that in mind how can you get them back to their owner?
Check for Collar and Chips
The obvious and first thing is to look for a collar and tags. You’ve no doubt already done that and came up empty – that’s why you’re here now! The next step is to see if the dog has been microchipped. Any vet should be able to scan for a chip and get the owners information so make this your first stop.
What if you’ve found the animal outside of normal vet hours?
Nowadays you don’t have to just post up fliers and hope for the best – though those absolutely work great and should be a part of your pet-owner-reunion strategy. There are a few tools that can get the word out about the found pet and fast!
Use Your County Website
Your country website likely has a robust tool already at your disposal for reuniting lost pets with their owners!
Here’s Pima County for example.
They lay out all the steps you should follow (including what we’re listing here!) to get a pet back to their owner. They also have a tool that allows for you to report the animal and they can add a listing with a picture, a pin on the map of where the pet was found and more.
Use Internet Platforms like Pawboost & Facebook
Pawboost is a website dedicated to getting the word out about lost and found animals. Anyone who has lost a dog is encouraged to post there as well as anyone who finds a pet. They get the word out fast, sending alerts to those who are subscribed which is crucial because it gets more eyes out looking for the pet, or looking for the person who is missing theirs.
Facebook can similarly be a great way to signal boost a lost and found pet. Since most pets are found within a mile of their home, by posting on your facebook page and spreading the word to your friends and family, they can share as well and there’s a good chance your found pet’s owner might see it – or someone who knows them!
You can also go to a neighborhood group facebook page and make a post there. Speaking of community pages…
Apps like, Nextdoor, Neighbors, and others are a sort of location based social media platform. On these you can quickly post a picture of the animal and a description of where you found them. If you’re not familiar with these apps, make sure you keep checking your post regularly in case the owner gets in touch with you!
The tried and true method posting fliers! You should do this last, only after you’ve taken the first steps on all the other platforms – this is simply because fliers take a bit of time to make and post up everywhere. But they are still an effective method, after all not everyone is on Facebook, Pawboost, or other community apps, but if they are out and about driving for their pet they’ll come across a flier!
Hopefully this advice has helped you find the owner of the pet you found! Reuniting someone with their furry family is special, and you just might make a new friend out of it. If you have apet that needs to be scanned for a microchip, or you want to microchip your pets, give Acoma Animal Clinic a call and we’ll do our best to help!