Losing a pet is an extremely scary and stressful experience. You are not alone. An estimated one in three pets will become lost during their lifetime. Use the resource below for tips on smart search techniques as well as pet loss prevention.

Lost Pet Tips

●  Don't Wait! Begin your search immediately. A motivated animal can travel a significant distance in a short amount of time, putting them at risk. You'll need a smart search strategy that depends on your pet (shy, indoor-only, has outdoor experience, etc.) Click here for smart strategies for cats and here for dogs.

●  For lost cats, begin your search close to home (or the location your cat was lost). While some animals will travel when lost or frightened, many—especially shy, nervous, or indoor-only cats—will hole up within a 3-house radius of the place they went missing.

Don't give up! Searching for a lost pet successfully can be time-consuming and discouraging. Enlist the help of your friends and neighbors in making signs, thoroughly searching nooks and crannies, and canvassing the neighborhood.

●  Contact animal care agencies in your area. This includes animal control, shelters, veterinary hospitals, and highway departments. Supply these agencies with a "lost" flyer that has a clear photo of your pet, important information, and your contact number. The animal control authority for the cities of Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee is Thomas J. O'Connor. Animal control divisions in other cities and towns can be found through your town website or police department.

● More resources are available to aid in your search including Missing Dogs Massachusetts and this video on lost cats by Front Street Animal Shelter of Sacramento. Additionally, Lost Cat Finder is a paid service, but offers a money-back guarantee if you do not find your cat.

Reporting a Lost Pet to Dakin

To report to Dakin that you have lost an animal, please email our Springfield Animal Resource Center at springfield@dakinhumane.org.

Pet Loss Prevention Tips

Prevention is the key to recovering your pet more quickly in the event they become lost.

●  Make sure your cat or dog is wearing identification at all times. The best form of ID is a collar with a personalized tag. Current rabies tags and dog licenses also serve as identification but rely on town offices or veterinary hospitals to be open and accessible.

●  Microchip your pets. Microchips are rice-sized radio transmitters that are read by special scanners in animal shelters or veterinary hospitals. Implanted just beneath the skin between the animal’s shoulder blades, a microchip is a permanent way for an animal to be reunited with their family. Remember to keep microchip information updated in the national database each time you move, change your phone number, etc.

●  Obey leash laws in your town. Don’t allow your dog off-leash in approved off-leash areas unless you are certain they understand and will obey your command to return to you when called. The simple distraction of another dog, a moving car, or a scurrying squirrel can send your dog quickly out of reach.

●  Keep cats indoors when possible. Cats who live exclusively indoors tend to lead healthier, longer lives than cats who live outdoors even part of the time.  However, for some cats, outdoor access is essential.  If your cat insists upon venturing outdoors, be sure that it is limited to daylight hours. The twilight and evening hours are when most predators pose a threat to cats. Train your cat to come in at night by feeding them indoors in the early evening. Indoor-only cats should wear identification as a preventative measure in the event they manage to get outside.

●  Holidays and events including fireworks on Independence Day, thunderstorms, and Halloween costumes can lead nervous pets to take drastic measures to leave home. Know your pets and prepare to secure and protect them during particularly stressful events.

Additional Resources

Petco Love Lost is a free, easy-to-use service that uses innovative pet facial recognition technology to help reunite lost dogs and cats with their families. This service also allows you to report and search for lost pets nationwide.