1. Don’t waste any time! Time is of the essence in many lost pet situations, and assuming they will “come home when they are ready” can be a dangerous assumption to make.
2. Even though time is of the essence -- don’t panic. Breathe. Think like your pet. Are they gregarious and friendly and like to socialize? Are they shy and more likely to hide. Where are their favorite places to go with you?
3. Most pets, particularly cats, are close to home when they are lost. Check up in trees, down in bushes, under porches, in neighbors' yards -- especially look for any “hidey-hole” areas around your house and the homes surrounding you in case your pet is scared and hiding.
4. Gather a team of friends and family to help -- you’ll be able to accomplish more in much less time.
5. Make a lost pet poster and carry a recent photo of your pet. While you're putting up posters, ask pedestrians and neighbors if they’ve seen your pet and tell them how to contact you if they spot them.
6. Place food and water outside your door, or better, outside of a partially open garage door. Also consider leaving an item of clothing with your scent near the food and water.
7. Go online and post lost pet notices on social media, with local shelters, and other lost pet services.
8. Call and visit local shelters -- even if they say they don’t have an animal that meets your pet’s description -- stop by and look.
9. If you’ve recently moved or often spend time with your pet at a different location (dog park, friend or family member’s home or doggie day care) -- thoroughly search that location as well.
10. Don’t ever give up -- lost pets have been found weeks, months and even YEARS later. Keep networking, pounding the pavement, using online resources and keep in touch with local shelters and rescues.