Finding Your Lost Pet | PAWS Chicago

Finding a Lost Pet

When your pet becomes lost, time is of the essence to find him and get him back home. These tips will help bring your pet home as quickly as possible.

  • Start Looking. The faster you can begin your search, the less terrain he will be able to cover. Be sure to call his name and bring favorite treats and toys that he may recognize. Bring a pad and pen to hand out your contact information should locals see your pet before you do.
    • Create Flyers. Post and distribute “Lost Cat/Dog” flyers in a large radius of where you last saw him as he may have roamed since becoming lost. Use bold letters so it’s easily visible and include a photo, description of your pet, the date and location he was lost and a reward if available. Post flyers in local supermarkets, coffee houses, dog parks, bus stops, veterinary offices, and animal shelters, including your local city pound.
    • Go Door-to-door. Talk to neighbors and residents in the area and ask if they’ve seen your pet. Provide a flyer or contact information should they see your pet.
    • Call Around. Call local shelters, veterinary clinics and pet stores to alert them of your lost pet.
    • Advertise. Place an ad in a local newspaper and post on social media pages to spread the word about your lost pet.
    • Report your Lost pet to Your Local City Shelter. Let the facility know the location where the animal was lost as well as any other details you can provide so they can determine if your pet has been taken in. If your pet is microchipped, provide the chip number. In Chicago, stray and lost pets are impounded at two main locations:

If you live in the suburbs, call your local animal control office. These organizations are only required to hold strays for three days; after that they will be put up for adoption or can be at risk of euthanasia. Visit each shelter as quickly as possible and keep checking back.

Don’t Give Up! Some pets have been known to turn up months after being lost so keep searching!

When you are reunited with your pet, ensure he is microchipped and wears a collar with current ID tags to be sure he can be returned quickly if ever lost again.