Vacations are one of the most common opportunities for a pet to become lost. Because you’re out of your pet’s familiar comfort zone, and are unlikely to know those around you, it may be even more difficult than usual to retrieve a pet that has gone missing during a family vacation.
Making sure your four-legged friend is well-identified and correctly protected can go a long way from preventing a tragedy from occurring. At the very least, all pets should be up-to-date on their vaccinations and wearing a collar with heavy-duty ID tags. ID tags should have the pet’s name, any medical conditions or allergies, and the owner’s contact information printed clearly and distinctly, and attached to the pet’s collar. PetHub takes things one-step up the technological ladder, providing owners with a tag with a unique QR code linked to a free online pet profile.
Another important precaution is to have your pet microchipped. This tiny device can be inserted underneath the pet’s skin with a long, thin needle, causing no more discomfort than the average vaccination. It contains not only your pet’s basic information, medical history, and your contact information. Even if your lost dog or cat somehow ends up in a shelter or emergency clinic a few states away, there’s the possibility for reunification.
If your pet is missing on vacation, the first thing to do is to keep calm, and act quickly. The more quickly you respond positively to the situation, the more likely you are to find your pet while he’s still in the immediate vicinity. If you’re staying at a hotel, campground, or other lodgings, make certain to alert the management and owners of the venue that your pet is missing. It wouldn’t hurt to ask others staying there to also keep an eye out, just in case your furry friend is still roaming around the building.
Print up “Lost Pet” flyers, complete with a picture, and ask the owners and staff of these establishments to stay on the lookout. Especially when it comes to cats, many pets prefer to stay within a comfort zone, and will end up at the first place that seems comfortable, friendly, and offers food.
If none of these tactics offer any results, it’s time to start calling shelters, animal control authorities, local veterinarians, and emergency clinics. It is, of course, preferable that your pet is found close to home, safe, and healthy, but if someone has picked him up as a stray or he’s been in an accident, making these unpleasant calls will help you locate your lost friend.
The good news is, most pets that go missing on vacation are hampered by the unfamiliar surroundings and boundaries established by the way campsites, hotels, and resorts are set up. You may be temporarily separated, but except for rare cases involving theft or injury, you’re likely to find your wayward friend wandering around pretty close to home.