Since your beloved pet often takes a snooze under the bed or hangs out in the kids' room, you do not notice that he is absent. Later, you realize that no one has seen him for hours. The family pet has made a run for it, and you have no clue as to where he's gone. What do you do?


The most important step comes before your pet goes missing. Each of your animals needs to have an up-to-date ID tag that includes your name and phone number. If your animal has a microchip, remember that the chip service needs your current information, or they won't be able to contact you when your pet is found.

Neighborhood Search

If you are lucky, Fido has not gone far, so a careful search of the neighborhood might do the trick. Try having one or two people walk the area around the house while someone else takes a slow car ride a little further out. Call for your pet in a happy tone to encourage him to come to you. Dogs who know they are in trouble often hide. Also, listen for barking dogs in the vicinity. Sometimes they are barking at your bad boy and can lead you right to him.

Animal Shelters 

If a search of the neighborhood does not turn up any sign of your dog, call the local animal shelters and the animal warden. In some cities, strays are picked up very quickly, so you may not have to wait long for news. If the city does pick up your animal, chances are you will owe them room and board and fines if your dog hasn't been properly restrained or vaccinated. Make sure that you visit your veterinarian yearly to keep your dog current with his shots, both for his health and for compliance with local laws. A city license will not be issued to your dog without these shots, and the resulting penalties are expensive.


If your dog still has not turned up, print flyers and post them all over. Try putting them in the grocery store, the community center, the veterinarian's office, the pet hospital, and anyplace that draws a lot of traffic. The flyer should have a picture of your pet and list its age, color, weight, sex, breed, and distinguishing marks as well as your phone number.

Do not give up! Pets have returned home safe and sound after a weeks, months, and even years, although you are likely to recover your darling in days or even hours. Once you have him home again, take steps to keep him there by plugging his escape route and showering him with love.

If you have questions about your pet's health, make sure to contact a veterinarian from a clinic like Earlysville Animal Hospital.