When someone loses a pet it is an emotional time, they can feel totally helpless so it is very important that they have a plan that they can follow to help them to get their missing pets home. If you or someone you know are missing a pet then the first thing you should do is to come to one of our Lost Pet Register pages and have our teams post a missing ad for you on our Facebook page so that they have exposure. There are basic things that all lost pet owners need to do when a pet goes missing such as:

  • Do a thorough search and doorknock of the immediate area where your pet went missing.
  • Let local and surrounding shelters, pounds councils and rescues know, if possible, give them a photo of your pet, go and check in person as a description over the phone is not a guarantee. Keep going back to look as just because they aren’t there now doesn’t mean they won’t come in.
  • Let vet clinics know in case they are brought in injured or for a microchip scan.
  • Put an ad in the newspaper lost and found section as not everyone is online.
  • Put an ad on Gumtree in the lost and found pet section.
  • Put an ad on your local radio pet patrol section.
  • Go to and have their microchip flagged as missing.
  • Leave your microchip number anywhere they are likely to be scanned in case there is an issue with bringing up details, never make the microchip number public for safety reasons.
  • Print flyers and do a letterbox drop.
  • Make posters and put one on your front fence in case someone comes back to the area to try to find the owner and put them in local businesses and on poles if allowed by council.

There are also species specific things that you will need to do as well such as:

  • Cats have free floating clavicles (shoulders) and collapsible rib cages and they can fit through any opening that their heads can fit through no matter how fat they are, so search your home thoroughly in any wall cavities, roof cavities, under recliners, in drawers, washing machines and dryers, outside in sheds and garages, under decks and bushes. If cats are scared or injured they may hide nearby in silence for days on end. Get out in the dark with a torch to try to catch eye shine. They can also be frightened out of their territories by bully cats or dogs, if they are outside the border of their territory then they may be living only a couple of blocks away. Check by looking up in trees and down in drains as well.

Check with neighbours and ask if you can search their properties as well, make notes of where you and your neighbours tradesmen, moving vans and council vehicles have travelled around the time your cat went missing as they can get in or under vehicles and these are some areas you may want to pop some posters up in as well.


  • If your dog has the potential to get onto farmland it is essential that you let the farmers know straight away so that they can contact you if they are seen rather than exercising their rights. If you think your dog has been lost in the bush somewhere, then stick a stake in the ground with a poster on it near to where they have been seen or heard, if you have another dog take it with you, they may lead you to them. Take a portable barbeque there and try cooking to lure them out with delicious smells. Check where long haired dogs could be caught in barbed wire fencing and bushes. Night time when it is quiet is a good time to look, some people have had success setting up camp near where their dogs have been seen.


  • With birds you need to check your yard and neighbour’s yards thoroughly, put their cage outside with food in it and the door open, when you are searching ring a favourite bell if they have one, if they have a partner, take it with you in a cage, look up in the trees. If they are not used to flying they may tree hop so follow any line of trees there may be. Sun up is when they are ready to start looking for food, and sun set is the time when the flock comes together to roost, so they are good times to look. If you have a recording of your bird then play it when you are looking. If your bird is a native parrot then check with WIRES and wildlife carers and any organisation that would take in native animals, leave details in case a bird like yours comes in. Post on Check with pet shops also as some people will take them to places where they know there are cages.


When someone finds a pet, it can also be a stressful situation, sometimes people who have had nothing to do with pets find them and it is very overwhelming, having a plan to follow is essential, if you or someone you know has found a pet make sure you post them with your local Lost Pet Register Facebook page. There are basic things that people who find lost pets should do, such as:


  • Do a doorknock of the immediate area where you have found the pet, ask people in the street if they know the pet and where it belongs.
  • Let shelters, pounds councils and rescues know, the pound is one of the first places that lost pet owners will look for their pet, there is also a limit of time that you are legally allowed to hold a pet before you have to hand them in, check with your local pound to see what the law is regarding this in your state.
  • Please do not take them to a pound or rescue out of the area you found them in if you can help it, because the owner is not likely to know to look for them there.
  • Take them to a vet clinic to have a microchip scan (please note that in Victoria only vets that have a contract with the pound are allowed to scan for a microchip, so ring ahead and make sure where there is a vet that can do this)
  • Put an ad in the newspaper lost and found section as not everyone is online and found ads are usually free.
  • Put an ad on Gumtree in the lost and found pet section.
  • Put an ad on your local radio pet patrol section.
  • Print flyers and do a letterbox drop.
  • Make posters and put one at the exact place where you found the pet, as well as in local businesses and on poles if it is allowed by council. If you live in the area then pop a poster on your front fence, leave out details only the owner would know about to guarantee it goes to the correct owner.
  • Please note that to keep a found pet or to rehome them is regarded as theft, if a pet seems uncared for as in not well groomed or underweight it may just mean that it could be owned by someone elderly or infirm who may needs help with grooming, or it may have an underlying medical condition, and you may be keeping it from its medication, if it turns out that it is neglected then it should be checked out by authorities and you will be able to put your name down to adopt it.

There are also species specific things that you will need to do as well such as:

  • If you find a dog, walk them around the area you found them in and knock on some doors, if the dog is from that area it is highly likely that they could be recognized. If you have only sighted the dog, then please do not chase it, or approach it if it appears to be skittish as it could cause the dog to run into traffic. Sit down and make eating noises, crinkle a food packet if you have one, don’t look directly at the dog. If you cannot get the dog to come to you then report it as a sighting on your local Lost Pet Register rather than chase it. If you decide to take it home and you live out of the area that you found the dog, please make sure it does not escape into a strange area. If it does escape please keep trying to find the owner so you can tell them where to look for it.


  • If you have a cat hanging around your house, it may very well know how to get home, just because you may never have seen it before doesn’t mean it is lost. It could belong to new residents, or be an inside only cat that has escaped, cats are good at making you think they are starving so to avoid removing it from an area where it may know how to get home, if it has a collar on then write a note saying that you are worried that the cat is lost and needs rescuing and if this is your cat please call me, and put your phone number on it, if there is not collar you can make one out of paper and pop a piece of tape on to hold it together, don’t tape it all in case it gets caught on something. If you get no results from the collar, then you may need to take it to a vet for a microchip scan. Obviously if it is injured then you should take it to a vet straight away.


  • If you have found a bird, then put an ad up on , if the bird is stressed or injured put it in a cardboard box or a cage with some water and cover it up and put it in a quiet place out of harms way. If you have a bird with a ring on its leg then you can contact someone via these links


Avicultural Society of Australia –


Parrot Society of Australia –


National Ring Register for Pigeons –