What To Do If Your Pet is Missing on Vacation


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What To Do If Your Pet is Missing on Vacation

Vacations are one of the most common opportunities for a pet to become lost. 

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. We’ve done the research on the best ways to keep the family pet safe and with you during your next vacay!

rat terrier dog wearing red sunglasses, lounging near a pool and sitting in a pool float

How to prepare your pet before a trip - update their identification

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 by providing owners with a tag with a unique QR code linked to a free online pet profile. Whistle also makes incredible pet monitors that can help track your pets whereabouts and health status.

White lab and young girl sitting with luggage in trunk of car on vacation

Another important precaution is to have your pet has invisible identification, also known as a microchip. 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 can be linked to a profile that includes your pet’s basic information and your contact information. Some microchip companies also allow for medical history and vaccination information to be added to a profile. 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 with the help of a visible ID or an invisible form of identification.

tan fluffy dog being held in the front seat of a car by a woman who's smiling

What to do if your pet goes missing while you're away from home

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.

Small dog laying in sand at beach with blue ball

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 to where you've been staying.