If your pet goes missing there are many options available to you, from dog wardens and the police to local vets and even special pet-finding websites.
If you lose your dog or believe it to be stolen, experts advise that you should immediately contact your local dog warden. You can get in touch with the dog warden by contacting your local council. Give them as much information as you can. The details you should pass on should include the following:
- Coat type
- Distinguishing marks
- Identification tags
You should ensure that the contact numbers you give are reachable 24 hours a day, and if you closely border other council areas, it will also be worth contacting the neighbouring authorities. Ask which kennels the dog wardens use to house stray dogs.
You should contact the police for the area in which you lost your dog or cat, giving them the same information as above, particularly any unusual markings that make your pet stand out. It may, again, be worth contacting police authority areas in the surrounding region.
Look in your local Yellow Pages for the contact details of local vets, and phone through your missing dog and cat report. Once again, the more information you can provide, the better, as it will increase your chances of finding your pet quickly. Most vets keep a ‘lost and found’ book, and may also allow you to put up posters in the practices most local to you.
There are a number of good online pet registration services, many of which give you free registration of your pet plus free access to their database.
The services’ central pet register databases help to find missing cats and dogs that have often just wandered off, and tend to work by providing the pet with a unique identification number which can be engraved on the pet’s collar, or on an ID tag. They are also in touch with a number of rescue and shelter organisations.
Website visitors can log in and list their pet as missing, and check the site around the clock to see if their pet has been found.
Here are four top pet-finding sites:
- www.petsbureau.co.uk opens in a new window
- www.nationalpetregister.org opens in a new window
- www.amissingpet.co.uk opens in a new window
- www.missingpet.net opens in a new window
Here are eight other things you can do for free to find your missing pet…
- Contact local pet shops
- Contact grooming parlours
- Contact local animal rescue organisations
- Contact animal hospitals
- Check ‘found’ ads in local papers
- Place adverts in local newspapers
- Post printed notes through neighbours’ doors
- Ask local shops and businesses to put posters in their windows
Microchips and tattoos
Finally, a lot of dogs and cats are now permanently identifiable by means of a microchip or tattoo. This gives them a unique identification number that links them to their owner, so you may find one of these options a worthwhile investment for peace of mind.
What benefits can pet insurance have?
As well as all the emotional trauma of losing a much-loved pet, there could also be considerable expense if you want to advertise or offer a reward. And what if you paid a lot of money for a pedigree breed?
If you are a Churchill pet insurance policyholder and your dog or cat goes missing or is stolen, you are entitled to claim up to £1,000 towards the cost of advertising and reward. If you are not able to recover a lost or stolen pet after they have been missing for 45 days, you could also be entitled to claim back the purchase cost, up to £500.