How to Find My Pet? Best Apps and Techniques for Lost Pets

Neighbors trying to find a lost pet

Key takeaways

As pet parents, our worst nightmare is losing our furry friends. They're part of the family, and not being able to find them can be devastating.

However, by thinking logically and being proactive, you can increase your chances of getting your pet home safely.

In this guide, we're exploring the best apps and methods to find your pet. So, don't panic. We're here to help!

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. Apps to find your pet
  3. Methods to find your lost pet
  4. FAQs
  5. Final thoughts

Apps to find your pet

Utilizing modern technology can be invaluable in your search for your lost pet. Spreading the message to as many people as possible is an effective way to find your furry friend. After all, the more people on the lookout for your pet, the more likely you are to find them!

Social media

Social media has taken our world by storm and completely transformed the way our society functions, and this relates to finding lost pets, too. Not using this technology means you aren't tapping into a potential superpower that can track down your best bud.
To utilize this effectively, join local groups on WhatsApp and Facebook. Often, there will be multiple different groups for one neighborhood and sometimes there'll even be a group dedicated to pet owners of the area. Here are some top tips for posting:

Include multiple photos: Adding plenty of photos to your post will help people take notice and help them identify your pet. Include close-ups of memorable physical traits as well as a clear color overview.

Include contact details: While people can comment and message you on Facebook, it may be useful to provide an email address or phone number so if people are out and about and spot your pet, they can report a sighting to you quickly. However, remember, there is always a risk of scams when you publish your private contact details.

Make it shareable: Many posts cannot be shared publically from a private group, so make sure you also post on your personal account and make it shareable to spread the message far and wide.

Include a detailed description: A description of your pet's personality is essential. It's important for members of the public to know if your pet is timid, shy, or even aggressive. Alongside this, describe physical traits, like the length of their tail, their markings, or the way they walk.

A post on social media alerting neighbors to a lost pet


The PetRadar web app is designed to maximize the effectiveness of social media. When you report your pet missing with us, we'll alert over 4,000 of your neighbors through Facebook and Instagram advertisements.
With the information you provide us, we'll create a digital missing pet poster and sponsor the post, meaning when your neighbors are scrolling through their social media feeds, an image of your furry friend will pop up with an alert saying they are lost. From the post, your neighbors can report a sighting, send it to a friend, or save it for later.
As soon as any sightings are reported, we'll notify you instantly so you can act fast and bring your dog or cat home safely. We've already reunited over 12,000 pets this way, so you'll be in good hands! We also:

Send you a personalized missing pet poster

List your pet on our website

Offer constant support and guidance

Set up a personal dashboard for you to monitor the search efforts

We've already reunited over 12,000 pets this way, so you'll be in good hands!

PetRadar's expert team finding lost pets

Methods to find your lost pet

You should combine the use of technology with more traditional methods to increase your chances of finding your furry friend.

Report them missing

Luckily, there are organizations set up that can help you in your search. Reporting your pet missing should be the first step you take. Be sure to call:

Local animal shelters: Local rescue centers and animal shelters should be your first port of call. They'll receive plenty of sightings of lost pets every day, and your furry friend may even be handed into them. If you haven't had your pet microchipped, you risk them being put up for adoption or, in worst-case scenarios, euthanized. However, if you notify your local animal shelter, they'll know to contact you when your pet shows up!

Local veterinarians: Most people, when they find a lost pet, will take them to a vet to be checked over. By ensuring all the veterinarian clinics in the area know about your missing pet, you'll be alerted as soon as they’re handed in.

Animal control: Official animal control departments will be able to offer you expert advice on how to find your pet. Often, they can physically help you search, providing helpful resources like humane traps.

Microchip company: Ensuring the microchip company is aware of your missing pet is an essential step. You'll be able to double-check the contact details on your pet's chip to ensure they are accurate and up-to-date.

A local busy animal shelter caring for lost pets

Distribute missing pet posters

Creating and distributing missing pet posters is a good way to make people take notice and start looking for your furry friend. Use the following tips to make your flyer as effective as possible:

Use eye-catching colors: Sticking to a few bright colors, like red, yellow, and orange can make your poster more visible and eye-catching. Stick to primary colors rather than pastels.

Format information in bullet points: While a lot of information is helpful, it can also make people reluctant to stop and read it. Try to bullet-point the writing to make it more scannable and digestible.

Use clear, color photos: Clear photos are essential for your poster to be effective. Include photos of memorable physical traits and make sure they aren't blurry.

Waterproof it: If your poster disintegrates or smudges as soon as it rains, it's not going to be very useful! Waterproof it by laminating it, using waterproof paper, or putting each poster in a plastic wallet.

Top Tip: To save time designing the poster, download our free printable and personalized poster.
PetRadar's missing dog poster

Physical search for them

The most effective way to find a lost pet is through a thorough physical search. For cats, use the following checklist:

Neighbors' houses and backyards: If your indoor kitty has escaped, it's unlikely they've gone far. Searching your neighbors' houses and backyards is important as they may be hiding nearby.

Abandoned buildings, outbuildings, and sheds: Your cat's fight-or-flight instinct has probably been triggered, meaning they'll seek very isolated and secluded places to hide. Garages, sheds, outbuildings, and abandoned buildings make the perfect place for your kitty to hide from potential predators.

Up trees and in shrubbery: If you've got an adventurous kitty, then they may enjoy climbing a tree or two. It's very common for cats to get stuck when they climb too high, so keep your eyes up when you're searching.

For dogs, search the following places:

Neighbors' backyards: If you've got a fenced yard, look for signs that your dog may have jumped over it or broken it. Then, search your neighbors' backyards, as it's unlikely they've wandered too far.

Fields and parks: Your dog has probably memorized the routes to its favorite places, like the dog park or a fun field. Search these places thoroughly!

Secluded, hidden backstreets: Your dog's fight-or-flight instinct may cause them to hide and find secluded places safe from potential predators.

neighbors physically searching for a lost pet


How do I track my lost animal?

You can track your lost animal if they are wearing a GPS collar, otherwise, you can use PetRadar and track the sightings reported by your neighbors.

Is there an app to find your pet?

Yes, there is an app to find your pet! The PetRadar app alerts over 4,000 of your neighbors about your missing pet using social media ads. You can track the reported sightings and find your pet this way!

How do I find my lost pet?

To find your lost pet, report them missing to your local shelter and veterinarian before spreading the message around your neighborhood and physically searching for them. Using the PetRadar app can also increase your chances of finding your pet!

How can I locate my dog?

To locate your dog when they have run away, you should contact local animal shelters, veterinarians, and animal control. You should also spread the message around your neighborhood and physically search for them.

What happens if I lose my pet?

If you lose your pet, it's important not to panic and to be proactive and think logically. Firstly, report them missing to animal shelters and animal control, then spread the message around your neighborhood, and finally, start physically searching for them.

Final thoughts

Losing your pet is one of the most distressing situations an owner can experience. But remember, the odds of finding your pet are in your favor!
If your furry friend is still missing, start a PetRadar search. Our team of animal lovers will be with you every step of the way, offering expert guidance and support and doing all they can to get your pet back home safely.

Written by

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Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

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