I’m sure you’ve seen missing pet flyers throughout your life, but do you know what to do if it’s YOUR pet that goes missing?

• First, make sure you prepare now just in case your pet goes missing. We never want it to happen, but plan for the worst and hope for the best. Periodically check your pet’s tags and collar to make sure your information is up to date and easy to read. Sometimes it can rust or rub off and you want to make sure anyone who locates your pet can reach you. Also, make sure that you keep current photos of your pet on hand so that your pet will be recognizable on any posters.

• If your pet goes missing, get the word out as soon as you realize they are missing. Some people will wait a few hours to see if their pet returns home, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can take down any posters and let animal control and the local shelters know that your pet has returned, but you cannot replace time looking for your pet.

• Second, make flyers, posters, anything that you can easily post around where you live. Clearly state your animal is missing, try using a bigger font and color other than black. Include your pet’s photo and a description of what they look like and their name. Including their name will make approaching and securing the pet easier for anyone who finds it. You should also put your name and contact information so they can reach you. If you’re able to afford an award, post that on the flyer as well. Keep in mind that if the flyer is made on a larger piece of colored cardboard that people will be able to see it better from their vehicle than if it is on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.

• After making flyers, make sure you get out and look for your pet. Ask friends, family, and neighbors to help or at least to check their property for your pet. Try to talk to as many people as possible, because it increases the odds that one of them will find your pet. Don’t forget that cats are notorious for hiding near a neighbor’s porch or bushes until they feel it is safe to come out.

• A really important step that is often overlooked is to check with the local shelters, pounds, vet hospitals, and humane societies (like us at the Humane Society of Macomb). If someone cannot reach you, they might just take your pet to one of those locations. While calling is a good idea, try to go in yourself and look for your pet.

When you find your pet, it’s best to speak calmly and use phrases you use regularly. Trying to catch a pet may spook them, and cause them to run away. Try getting them closer with their favorite toy or treat. It might take some time, but they will hopefully recognize you and come to you.

Last but not least, don’t give up!

Search for your pet as often as you can, and get as much help from as many people as possible. You never know who might get your pet home to you. Keep in mind that you can avoid a lot of this hassle if you have your pet micro-chipped. Check the chip day was August 15, 2016 so if you missed it, you still have time to make sure it is up to date.

Starting September 1st you will be able to have your pet microchipped at the Humane Society of Macomb. Contact the shelter for more information.