Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast
HomeInspireAnimals & Pets

What to do when you lose a pet

BY Blue Cross

24th Feb 2023 Animals & Pets

What to do when you lose a pet

The loss or theft of a pet is distressing for owners and their families. Here are some tips on what to do if you’ve lost your four-legged companion

If your pet is microchipped (by law all dogs should be microchipped and always wear a collar and tag with your name and address on when out in public) you should call the database your pet is registered with and report them as lost or stolen.

It’s important to make sure your contact details are always kept up to date, for instance if you move house or change phone number.

For dogs you can contact your local authority dog warden via your local council—they are legally responsible for stray dogs and may well have picked up your pet. They will hold on to stray dogs for seven days but, after this time, dogs will be rehomed or put to sleep if no home can be found for them.

It’s worth contacting neighbouring local authorities too as dogs may move across local council borders.

"You should call the database your pet is registered with and report them as lost or stolen"

Call local charities/kennels and vets, as it’s possible someone has found the pet and taken them to one of these.

Check online lost and found websites, notice boards and social media in your local area.

Put up “lost pet” notices all around your local area with an up-to-date photo of your missing dog or cat, and your contact details.

You can register your dog on DogLost, a free national database which is run by volunteers who will help you to search for your pet.

Visit places where other dog walkers go and ask them to keep an eye out for your dog.

Ask your neighbours to check sheds, garages and cars.

What to do if you think your pet has been stolen

Pet owner who has lost pet holds empty collarIf you think your pet has been stolen, you should report it as a theft to the police

  • Call the police on 999, record it as a theft rather than a lost animal and get a crime reference number.
  • Report the loss/theft to the microchip database. This will ensure that if anyone tries to re-register the chip number, you will be informed.

Support if your pet is lost or has been stolen

Blue Cross’s Pet Bereavement Support Service can provide help not only to those who have lost a pet, but for those owners whose pet is missing or stolen. The team is available 365 days a year between 8.30am to 8.30pm and you can contact them by email, phone or webchat.

Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit ipso.co.uk