What to do if your pet is lost or stolen

If your pet goes missing, it is important to act as quickly as possible for the best chance of them being reunited with you.

How to be prepared

  • Keep a set of up-to-date photographs of your pet from lots of different angles. This way, if the worst was to happen, you can post pictures on social media or make up posters quickly.
  • Write down a description of your pet including any distinguishing features, if they are microchipped, tattooed, neutered, etc. This helps you to be ready in an emergency.
  • Ensure your dog or cat are microchipped. Dogs must be microchipped by law, and must wear a collar and tag bearing contact details whilst out in public. It will also be law to microchip cats from the 10th of June 2024.
  • Keep all your pet’s documentation in one place to help prove ownership. This includes microchip numbers, vaccination certificates, registration documents, purchase receipts, rehoming contracts, and vet bills. It is also a good idea to keep some photos of your pet over the years.
  • Make up some slips of paper with your name and phone number on, plus a brief description of your pet. This means you have them ready to hand out if you end up searching for your pet.
  • Make sure your details are kept up to date on your pet’s microchip database and save their number in your phone in the event of an emergency.

What to do if your dog goes missing – who to contact and tools to use

  • ACT QUICKLY!  - immediately inform your microchip provider and ensure someone is always on hand to take calls from the number provided.
  • Report it to the local authority animal warden.
  • Contact Dog Lost as soon as possible as they are experts in reuniting dogs with their owners.
  • If you believe your pet has been stolen, report the theft to the police and ask for a Crime Reference Number. Also check if there was any CCTV operating in the area that might provide clues.
  • Make full use of social media using Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube. You can also contact the local radio and local papers.
  • Contact your insurance company, as most insurers cover advertising and reward costs.
  • Ensure to contact your vets, as not only will they know if your pet has been handed in, but they can also keep an eye if you think your pet has been stolen.
  • Contact the council, groomers, rescues, local community groups, churches, schools, and businesses to let them know your pet is missing.
  • Make sure to use our posters to put up in the local and surrounding areas. You can access them here.

Searching – where to begin?

  • If your dog goes missing whilst on a walk, and have no luck calling them, go back to your car as dogs are often able to find their way back there.
  • If your dog is sociable with people, check any areas where people gather such as cafes and shops. Leave your contact details and a description of the dog just in case.
  • Try to think where they could be hiding – searching gardens, sheds, and outbuildings could be a good placed to start.
  • Retrace your steps or walk your usual walking route. Could something have spooked them? Sometimes they are good at finding their way back home when scared.
  • Stand still in one spot for 5 minutes and call out, if you get no response, move on and repeat. We recommend going out when its quiet.
  • Leave a scent marker out in case they are trying to make their way back home. Something like unwashed clothes, bedding, blankets, their favourite toy, etc.

Extra tips for if your cat goes missing.

  • Immediately inform your microchip provider and ensure someone is always on hand to take calls from the number provided.
  • Ensure to contact your local vets in case they are handed in, or sadly caught in an RTA.
  • To try and encourage them back home, try placing scent markers around your property such as a cat litter box, bedding, hoover contents (place in a bag and poke a few holes in it), unwashed clothing, etc.
  • As distressing as it is, it’s important to contact the council to find out who is responsible for collecting animals that have been involved in car accidents to rule it out. And if you live near a railway, it’s worth contacting the National Rail to rule that out too.
  • Make full use of social media platforms. A lot of local areas have Facebook groups dedicated to people posting their missing pets, so then the local community can help to keep an eye out.
  • Try to think where they could be hiding – could they be trapped in someone’s shed? Make sure to check nearby gardens, sheds, and outbuildings.