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 Lost Pet Search - Day One
 Find your lost pet strategy checklist
< back to main lost pet advice page

Day One Action Plan
As soon as you realise your pet is missing do a quick search of home, road, immediate neighbours. Post an ad on Call SPCA, Animal Control, vets, check microchip details are to date and get your first round of flyers out in your street

Print, then tick off as you go.

Click each link for more information on each action point

Search house, garden and outbuildings. Check road.
Doorknock and search immediate neighbours
Register and place a "Lost" ad on Petsonthenet
Check "Found" ads on Petsonthenet
Check microchip database is up to date
Ring Animal Control
Contact SPCA (some SPCAs put all their incoming stray pets on Petsonthenet,
     so you don't have to check with them, just check our found pet ads daily
Ring all vets in your area
Flyers. Put flyers into your own street on Day One
Lost pet sign on berm


Tomorrow go
to Day Two Action Plan

Action Points - in depth
Search house, outbuildings and garden
First do a quick visual scan up and down the road in case your pet has been run over or is injured on or near the road. Then click here for our house and garden search checklist.

Register and place a "Lost" ad on Petsonthenet.
Click here to register an place an ad right now
. Posting a lost pet ad is free (bronze level ad), but we highly recommend you also add some form of paid upgrade wherever possible to give your ad much more exposure and help it stand out amongst the over 5000 ads placed per month...From only $5.00 your pet will get much higher visibility with an Attention Getter or upgrade to the Gold Homepage Feature ad and BE SEEN where people know to look for lost and found pets.

Sales of upgrades not only give your lost pet a lot more attention and exposure, they also help us raise funds to run this community service so we can reunite and rehome more pets throughout NZ, including hopefully your pet as well.

If you use facebook, once your ad is posted on Petsonthenet, "share it" on facebook by simply clicking the facebook icon next to your ad headline on your Petsonthenet ad to share it. Tweet it too. Let your social networks help you to find your pet!

Search Petsonthenet "Found Pets" now
Search our "Found Pets" now. Found pets are in chronological order, so if yours is missing for only a few hours there will only be a few ads to check. Sometimes pets are reunited within minutes in this way. Continue checking the appropriate "found pet" section as often as you like at no cost. We recommend you check the found pet listings at least once daily, ideally for at least 3 -6 months - or until your pet is home. Don't give up too soon!  

Is your pet microchipped? If so, excellent, you are ten steps ahead already. Now is the time to check that your address and full phone numbers are 100% correct on the microchipping database/s. You can also flag your pet as being currently lost.

NZCAR (NZ Companion Animal Register) is the microchip database for all pets in NZ. If your pet is registered with them, you can easily double check your details are correct online. If your pet is not registered with NZCAR, or registered with another chip database overseas you need to register with the NZCAR as it is the only database used by SPCA and vets in NZ. Microchipping for lost pet repatriation only works when those details are kept up to date. If you have moved or changed phone number etc since your pet was microchipped, urgently advise NZCAR/council that your pet is currently missing. For dogs, you need to check TWO microchip databases, the NZCAR and the council that the dog is registered with. So cats have one mcirochip dtabase (NZCAR) and dogs have two, NZCAR and local council (which is used by pounds).

If your pet is not microchipped we strongly recommend you arrange microchipping when your pet is found and register your chip on the NZCAR (NZ Companion Animal Register). Most pets can be microchipped, not just dogs - cats, guinea pigs, horses, rabbits, even fish can be microchipped.

Doorknock and search immediate neighbours
(a wider search and doorknock (with flyers) comes later

Take a photo of your pet and door knock your immediate neighbours. Say your pet is missing and ask if you can accompany them NOW (or at a convenient time in the very near future) to check their locked garages, under houses, gardens etc in case your pet is locked in somewhere on their property. Try not to rely on people saying they will check "later" because they don't always do what they say will...For example when our cat went missing in 2000 (and in her absence founded this website!) we door knocked a young teenage neighbour who casually agreed to check locked buildings etc for her. But it seems she did not... So three days later when the family finally unlocked their washhouse to do some laundry, she bolted out and headed straight home.

Ask your neighbours if they have locked anything lately they don't often go into ie under house etc, or if they know if other neighbours have been away. An empty house (people away or house on the market etc) is a prime target to investigate for a trapped cat. If a house is on the market ring the agent and ask them come around with all the keys and let you check the property with them. If the house is empty as people are on holiday, observe the house windows for signs of your pet. Walk around the house calling and listening for your pet, especially at the quiet twilight dusk time. If possible advise neighbours you will be doing this, so you don't get in trouble! If your cat is seen in a locked house or garage. leave a note on the door and/or in the mail box. if no contact in 24 hours and people still not home, contact SPCA or Police for advice

Contact Animal Control
Ring Animal Control (for dogs, or stock) 
Ask if they put all their found/stray dogs on if they do not, ask them to consider this. More information to help Animal Controls use our free community service is here

Contact the SPCA
. Ask if they put all their "found stray pets" on, so you can check via this website daily (Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury SPCAs DO put all their found pets on Petsonthenet). Otherwise you will need to ring or visit your local SPCA every few days.

Ask your local SPCA if there are any other shelters they know of in the area that could possibly have taken in a stray animal i.e. In Auckland there are many in different areas - Lonely Miaow etc

Ring ALL local vets in your area, including all after hours vets. Use the Veterinary Council of NZ website to pull up a full list of all vets in your town or city 

Create and copy your mail box flyers (with photo, preferably in colour) to all other neighbours in street and surrounding streets. You can make a flyer lost pet flyer by clicking the "creat a Lost Pet Flyer" link on your own Petsonthenet lost pet listing, or by going to this link

Put a lost pet sign up on your fence and berm
(free and very effective!) This is our real life example, we made it from two tomato stakes, the side of a cardboard box and poster paint. Everyone driving or walking past knew our cat was missing and where to come if they saw him!


Here's our cat Homer, back home after five days and happily smooching his sign, which now says FOUND! 

Some Success Stories due to signs
"My Boxer pup went missing for approx. two weeks. We put a large sign on our fence and our baby came home!!!! The people saw our sign...."

"I did get the suggestion re: sign on our fence, from and it worked a treat".

Tomorrow go to Day Two Action Plan

< Back to main Lost Pets Advice page


 If you have appreciated our advice, support and free ads, please support us with your donation
so we can continue to reunite and rehome more pets throughout NZ. Every dollar helps, thank you.

Sammy, feline founder of petsonthenet, click to visit
This is the Feline Founder of, Sammy.
Her three day disappearance in 2000 inspired the birth of this service (click for her story).



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Petsonthenet - NZ's nationwide database for lost and found pets, and pets for adoption. Reuniting and rehoming pets since 2002