Is Your Pet Lost?

A lost pet can be a frightening experience for any pet parent. Immediate action is crucial, but where do you start? Follow the steps below for the best chance of a reunion.

What to do immediately after your pet goes missing:

Walk the neighborhood.

Take a walk around the immediate area and speak to any neighbors, postal service workers, landscapers, or anyone who may have seen your lost pet. You know your pet best, so look in areas that your pet may have been interested in or comfortable hiding in. Most pets are found close to home.

Share their scent.

Put a couple of your pet’s favorite items near the most common entry ways into your home. The front door and the door into your yard would be the best locations. You can include items like their favorite bed, blanket, toys, litter box (if cat) and any other items they use frequently. Their scents may help them find their way home.

Next steps:

Search for your lost dog or cat on Petco Love Lost.

We have partnered with Petco Love Lost to easily help search the national lost and found database and create a searchable/shareable alert for your missing pet. Upload a picture of your pet or search by location. Powered by facial recognition technology, Petco Love Lost helps match found animals to reported lost pets nationwide.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to register your pet on Petco Love Lost to do things like create a lost listing that can be shared and print out premade fliers. You can also receive fliers via text message or email. You can also use the sharing features on Petco Love Lost to distribute your lost pet listing on other social media outlets like Facebook, Craigslist, and Nextdoor.

happy black dog

Make sure your pet’s microchip information is updated.

If a finder takes your missing pet to be scanned for a microchip, you want to make sure that all the information is correct so that you will be contacted immediately.

Check with your local animal services, animal control, and animal shelters.

Call to see if your missing pet is at one of these locations. An in-person trip is preferable so you can look and see if your pet is in their care. Many organizations allow you to place a lost report with them, where you can leave a photo of your pet and your contact information. Add your local shelter’s contact preferences here.

Continue to spread the word about your missing pet.

Make sure any posters or fliers made are large and bright with only relevant information on it. Place in high traffic areas and in the vicinity of where your lost pet went missing. There are many local Facebook groups that help reunite owners with lost and found pets. Example groups to post in: “Lost and Found Pets of West Michigan,” “Muskegon Lost and Found Pets,” and “Muskegon Informed.”

Don’t give up! Finding a lost pet can take time. Remember to regularly check websites that you have posted your lost pet on and make updates as needed. New lost and found pets are added regularly to Petco Love lost and to your local shelters.

Found a stray dog?

Stray dogs need to be taken to the designated municipal animal control facility.

For Muskegon County, this is Pound Buddies.
3279 E Laketon Ave., Muskegon, MI 49442
Shelter: (231) 724-6500
Central Dispatch: (800) 328-0911

Found a stray cat?

Stray cats can be taken to any vet or shelter (during open hours) to be scanned for a microchip. Stray cat intake does not fall into animal control’s responsibility. This is shared between the limited admission shelters. Their intake, like ours, is based on available kennel space. If you have found a stray cat, give us a call at (231) 773-8689 to check our available kennel space.

Here is a list of other local shelters that take in stray cats when they have kennels open:

Faithful to Felines: (231) 773-3030
Heaven Can Wait: (231) 737-5644
Noah Project: (231) 865-1264

Things you can do to help a stray cat make it home:

If it has a tipped ear, it is likely a feral or community outdoor cat that is fixed. If the feline in question seems like a house cat, check with neighbors to see if they’re missing a pet.

If you can’t find an owner, post a photo and details about the cat on lost and found pet pages on Facebook.

If you’ve got a mama cat and babies and the babies seem very young, the best bet is to leave them with their mom. If you don’t see the mom, monitor the kittens for a few days—she’s probably just hiding.

You can put food and water outside, but don’t leave the food out for long periods of time because it can attract other animals. Then, using just a few items, you can build a DIY cat shelter. An easy shelter can be made by cutting a cat-sized hole into a large rubbermaid box, then lining the box with food delivery bags and straw for insulation.