Homeward BoundIt’s every pet owner’s worst nightmare: Your cherished animal has gone missing with little-to-no sign of where he could have headed.


Unfortunately, this gut-wrenching feeling is experienced by pet lovers across the globe. A majority of these lost pets are located within 24 hours, but under certain circumstances dogs and cats have gone weeks without being found. Each case is completely unique, but by following certain procedures and remaining calm, the chances of finding your pet are greatly increased.


One of the first questions pet owners ask when their beloved pet runs away is “Why?” Pets run away for a variety of reasons, so determining which one sparked their flight could really help out the search process. The following are some of the most common reasons why pets run away:


If you’re struggling to figure out why your pet ran away it may help to assess their personality. Would your pet more likely be found in a park chasing down the neighborhood tomcat, playing with the local Labrador retriever, or hiding under a neighbor’s deck waiting until the coast is clear? The outgoingness or timidness of your pet could determine where they have decided to run to.


Sammy-and-George-1Your pet’s size and level of fitness will determine what type of area you should cover while looking for them. A larger dog can cover much greater distances, sometimes as much as a few miles a day while smaller dogs are often found within a one-mile radius of their last spotting. Write down or highlight all the locations within that radius you believe your dog might be. This should include parks, neighborhoods, schools, woods, etc. If you have a pet that simply loves to roam and no fence can hold them, consider having them microchipped.


It is important that you contact your local vets, animal hospitals, kennels, and even groomers as soon as you realize that your pet has gone missing. People who stumble across your pet will turn to these resources first. Providing an accurate description and picture to these locations is crucial. Posting on social media networks and hanging posters throughout your neighborhood will alert the community of your pet’s disappearance, in many cases leading to a speedier recovery.


The most difficult piece of advice to follow is often the most important: stay calm! Nearly 90 percent of lost dogs are recovered so fight your urges to panic. Continue with your daily routine, revisit your highlighted areas and stay positive. Your pooch will be home safe in no time with a new adventure or two under their collar.


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