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What To Do If Your Pet Goes Missing

In last week's blog, we shared tips on how to prevent your dog from getting lost. Today, we will cover what to do if, despite your safeguards and precautions, your pet - dog or cat - goes missing. Our hope is that, with these tips, you will be able to effectively set things in motion to improve your

pet’s chances of finding their way home.

What to do if your pet goes missing: Recruit helpers

If your pet goes missing, you will need to assemble a team of loved ones, friends, and

neighbors to help you find them. The more people in your search party that know your pet, the

better. That said, it’s fine to recruit people that don’t know your pet to help. You can assign tasks to

each person depending on their strengths and abilities.

What to do if your pet goes missing: Call and Post

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First, task one of the members of your search party to call local animal control and shelters. Let them know your pet has gone missing and provide a thorough physical description and last seen location.

Once they have made the initial calls, have them post the dog’s description on local social media groups like Lost and Found Pets St. Louis as well as neighborhood apps like Nextdoor. The faster you spread the word within the community, the better. Provide a recent, clear photo of your pet to post and share.

What to do if your pet goes missing: Start the Search

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Immediately have others on your search team begin looking for your pet on foot and by car. Call

out to your pet but, keep in mind, that lost pets often hide. We, therefore, recommend you call

out to the pet while using flashlights to look under and inside bushes, under carports, etc.

Those driving should be especially careful at night to prevent an accident if the pet runs toward your calls. Do not approach your pet unless you’re confident they won’t run into traffic. You may consider sitting down and offering treats or food to lure your pet to a secure space if you spot them.

What to do if your pet goes missing: Check at home

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If your dog goes missing near your home, leave someone there while others search. Dogs often recognize their home's exterior and return on their own. The person that stays home may be wise to invest their time in preparing a search poster to hang up if the search has to continue.

On your search poster, make sure you include a recent photo, cross streets where the pet was

last seen, and their size, age, and weight description. Include collar color, if the pet was wearing a harness, personality traits, quirks, etc. The more information you provide, the better. Beware that offering a reward may not be necessary. Consider the pros and cons here.

What to do if your pet goes missing: use your Resources

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Use all resources at your disposal. Call your vet, pet sitting company, dog walker, groomer, and other pet care professionals with whom you have established relationships.

Visit the Humane Society of The United States website for additional resources.

What to do if your pet goes missing: Stay POsitive

Any pet parent that realizes that their pet is missing will inevitably panic. It’s natural to feel

anxious, guilty, or angry in these high-stakes situations. We encourage you, however, to take a

deep breath and, instead, focus your energy and attention on the search for your pet. Placing

blame, breaking down emotionally, etc. will not help your pet come home.

While we recognize how hard it is to manage one’s mindset and intentions during this time, your pet’s safety and wellbeing may depend on it. Remember, in the day and age of technology and social networking, millions of lost pets safely make their way home each year.

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At House of Paws, we prioritize loss prevention because lost pets are at high risk for injury or worse. If we can do anything to help in your search, please let us know. We want nothing more than to see lost pets reunited with their beloved families.

To learn more about our dog walking, dog adventure, and pet sitting services, contact us at

(314) 690-5154 or email If you're ready to book services in one of our service areas submit a new client form to begin our registration process.

House of Paws proudly serves Eureka, Wildwood, Ballwin, Manchester, Maryland Heights, Des Peres, Fenton, Chesterfield, Valley Park, Ladue, Creve Couer, Town & Country, Kirkwood, Sunset Hills, Clayton, Webster Groves, Maplewood, The Hill, South City & Affton.

We look forward to caring for your paws-itively perfect pet(s)!


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