Finally, it’s here: your much-needed, long-awaited vacation. You’ve booked a pet-friendly condo at your destination of choice, packed your bags, and you’re ready to go. Your pet is secured in their cozy carrier, and you’re excited to finally be able to bring them along for a trip.
But what happens if your beloved pet goes missing on vacation?
While it’s scary for a pet to run away any time, it’s especially frightening for your pet to escape when you’re away from home in a completely unfamiliar area. How will your pet know where to go? Who can you contact? What should you do first?
If your pet runs away on vacation, don’t panic. There are several steps you can take right away that may help you reunite with your pet sooner.
1. Let people nearby know
Tell as many people in your immediate area as you can–hotel staff, campground or property managers, nearby business owners, neighbors, and anyone staying nearby that you feel safe to tell. If you’re staying with or near out-of-town family, let them know and ask them to spread the word for you.
Provide your contact information and all your pet’s identifying information to simplify the process in case someone locates your dog or cat. The important thing is to get as many eyes watching as you can.
2. Call Animal Control
The local Animal Control department might be able to help you locate and retrieve your lost pet, so give them a call and provide all the necessary information on your pet. It’s possible your pet may have already been picked up, so don’t hesitate to call.
3. Contact vets and animal shelters in the area
Once you’ve let Animal Control know, start contacting local animal shelters and veterinarians. It’s possible they may have seen or picked up your pet. If they haven’t, then they can keep a lookout.
4. Put up flyers
Flyers are a tried-and-true way to get the word out about a lost pet in any community. Include as much information about your pet as you can. If you can’t secure a photo to include on the flyer, you can hand-draw a sketch of your pet.
5. Offer a reward
A monetary reward for returning your pet is a great incentive for someone to bring them back. The trick is not to name a dollar amount. If someone contacts you and claims to have your pet, ask plenty of specific identifying questions about your pet first to see if they can answer. If you’ve determined they may indeed have your pet, meet them in a safe, public place and bring someone with you for the exchange.
6. Take to social media
Posting via social media is a great way to reconnect lost pets with their owners. The internet has made the world a fairly small place. Chances are, if you post about your lost pet and your location, that someone in your network will have a connection back to where you are–and can help spread the word that way.
7. Leave familiar objects where your pet can find them
If possible, leave objects like your pet’s favorite toy or a piece of your clothing outside your door. (This probably isn’t possible if you’re staying at a hotel.) If your pet comes back into the vicinity of your condo, beach house, or camper, they may be able to pick up on the familiar scent and find their way back.
It’s nerve-wracking for a pet to go missing, but taking these steps right away could help shorten your search time and get your dog or cat home to you more quickly. A Smart Tag on your pet’s collar could also help you know when they’ve left home base, and when they’re detected as away by other app users. The added peace of mind goes a long way while you work to reunite with your pet.
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