Nothing makes the world feel quite so big as the moment that you notice that man’s best friend has gone missing. When it comes to a lost pet, the possibilities are endless—and that’s an overwhelming observation as you start the search for your Fido-turned-fugitive. Technology can help us prevent lost pets from happening and is an important tool in reuniting missing cats and dogs with their worried owners.
“Where Are You?” Wearables
Think of your pet’s collar like their on-the-go emergency kit. Other than a microchip, a collar and tag is the ideal way to identify a stray animal and far more visible than something that requires a trip to the vet to be scanned, so your best bet is to have both. Although the most affordable and convenient option for being reunited still lies in a good old-fashioned name tag, you can add additional info by also including a second tag with a QR code, like those sold by Dynotag or PetTouchID. If a good Samaritan finds your pet yet can’t reach you by phone, they can scan for additional details and can automatically send their geolocation straight to your email.
The rise of GPS technology is also making it easier to track your pets. Whistle is a waterproof collar attachment that serves as GPS locator and activity tracker in one. Customize your cat or dog’s safe zone and receive mobile notifications if they wander so you can pinpoint their location for pick up. Peace of mind when it comes to your pets is worth the investment.
Power of the People
If worse comes to worst and your kitty or pup goes missing despite your precautions, don’t underestimate your community’s willingness and ability to help. Make sure you always have a clear, close-up photo available for instant access on your phone and devices. Immediately create a lost pet sign on a site like Canva and have the file sent to the nearest office supply store for black and white copies printed on brightly colored card stock. Slide your flyers into plastic binder sleeves for added durability and post copies on your vehicles, too. Email your created image to as many local vets and shelters as you can find information on and drop off a paper version at each shelter as you check there in person. Companies like Trupanion can also help you track down your pet with a unique Trupanion pupkin tag ID number and coverage to cover the costs of advertising and reward while looking for your pet.
Also, post your pet’s picture and prior location to social media as soon as possible and urge your friends to spread the word. You get a free pass for posting frequently or outright begging–every share widens your search area and increases your chances of a happy ending for all.
Check to see if your local community has a lost pets page on Facebook. Lost Pet Finder of Collier County has over 1,000 dedicated members and receives over 8,000 page views each week—it would take a lot of flyers to cover that kind of area, and some members of lost pet groups will actively aid your search. Community yard sale sites or parenting groups also act as a local bulletin board and are great places to turn when extra eyes are essential.
If your dog or cat goes missing, there is a lot to be done all at once and it’s hard to gauge which road to turn down, both literally and figuratively, in terms of starting a search. Take precautions to protect your pet by planning ahead, and if you do get separated, ask for help from your family, friends, neighbors and beyond to help your fur-baby find his way home.
About the Author: Ashley McCann is a freelance writer who covers electronics for eBay, including the technology you can utilize to find your lost co-pilot.