As a pet parent, there are few things more likely to send you into a blind panic than finding that your four-legged friend has gone missing. Staying calm in a crisis is key in any critical situation. That’s why it’s good to have a well-thought out emergency plan mapped out. Just as you might have received first-aid training or fire drill training, having a step by step plan in your mind about how to go about finding a missing pet can help you keep your head and improve your chances of finding a lost cat or dog in Hong Kong.

 

Missing Pet Prevention

The old adage ‘prevention is better than cure' extends beyond our favorite medical advice and into all realms of pet care. Although an ‘escaped’ pet is something you will undoubtedly be avoiding, accidents can, and do, happen. However, just because you can’t physically see your pet, doesn’t mean you can’t trace its whereabouts, as long as you have taken the certain precautions before an incident occurs.

Part of responsible dog care in Hong Kong includes licensing, microchipping and vaccinating. You can bring your dog to any AFCD center for the license and rabies vaccine or to an approved vet. The microchip is very small, about the size of a grain of rice. It contains an ID code so that should your pet get lost, it can be scanned and reunited with you via a database. Many people will also add a collar tag with a phone number engraved on it as an extra measure. These can be found in pet shops or ordered online at Vetopia.

Missing Pet Action Plan
Do you have a plan on what to do in the event of a fire or any other type of emergency? Making a plan ahead of a crisis can help you to focus on the priorities instead of flying into a panic. The first 24 hours are the most crucial. Here is a list of priorities to consider if the worst should happen.

1. Start looking now!
Bring a favorite toy or noisemaker and treats and start searching. Bring a picture of your pet with you so that you can ask everyone you meet while you are on the hunt. If possible, have someone else man the phone in case someone calls you to say they have found your dog or cat. If you have a business card, take it with you and hand it around to the people in the area where your dog was last sighted and ask them to join the hunt. The more people you have looking and the sooner you start, the easier it is to find a lost animal. As time passes, the radius in which they could be expands so rally the troops and work fast.

2. Call the local SPCA and AFCD
Many people will take animals to the local shelter if it is found wandering alone. Contact them and give as much detail as possible along with a photograph, time and date the dog was last seen and in which area.

3. Make a poster
Put up posters at your local veterinary clinics, shops and also send the same information to your local newspaper for the lost and found column.

4. Harness the power of the internet
Use social media and online forums to spread the word. There are many pet lover Facebook pages in Hong Kong, such as HK Dog Owners and HK Pet Owners. Post your dog's picture online with a description and when it was last seen.  Also, contact your local vet clinic and ask them if they are happy to post on their Facebook page. Ask people to share your post, you will be surprised how many people will if you simply ask them to.

5. Don’t give up
Keep reminding your friends and neighbors, repost your messages and posters, continue to contact your local shelters. Sometimes pets can be reunited with their family many months after their disappearance. Perseverance can pay off.

The most important thing to remember is to tag and chip your pets. This gives anyone who finds your four-legged friend the best chance of contacting you. We hope this will never happen, but having a plan and being prepared will stand you in good stead if it ever does.