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Lost Pet Prevention and What to do if Your Pet Goes Missing

Lost Pet Prevention

Did you know 1 in 3 pets will go missing in their lifetime? The best way to protect your pet is to be inseparable, but of course, that’s not always possible. Even if you’re the safest pet parent in the world, the best course of action is to make sure you have done everything you can to prevent your pet from getting lost — just in case.

What to do if your pet goes missing

We understand that losing your pet is very scary, but by being organized and diligent, we hope to help reunite you with your beloved family member with these tips:

  1. Check your home thoroughly – it may sound strange, but sometimes lost pets (especially cats) are simply hiding in a clever spot within your house. This happens frequently if something has startled them, such as a new pet or person coming into the home.
  2. Contact all of the area shelters (ECCHA, Dunn County Humane, Chippewa Humane) to see if your pet is there or has been reported as found by a citizen. ECCHA can be reached at (715) 839-4747 option 6 or by emailing Always provide a picture.
  3. Call your veterinarian and other clinics in your area as well as neighbors to inform them your pet is missing.
  4. Make fliers which include the following:
    • “Lost Pet” header at the top
    • A large, high-quality, close-up photo of your pet
    • Your pet’s name
    • When and where you last saw him/her
    • Your contact information in heavy, bold, large lettering
  5. Ask friends, family and neighbors to go out and help you look for your pet. Call for your pet by name in the woods and along streets.
  6. Place an ad in your local newspaper and lost pet pages (lost ads are typically free), on Facebook or other social media sites,, (for dogs only), and any other websites you can think of.
  7. Don’t give up! Sometimes lost animals show up in shelters months after they disappear.

Fill out this form if you need to report a lost pet.


Pet Loss Prevention Tips

Microchip your pet

Microchipping is a simple way to protect your pet and increase the chances of a reunion if they go missing. Vets and shelters can scan for the microchip, which will include your name and contact information, which will stay there for their entire life. The process for getting a microchip implanted is completely painless, and your pet will have no idea it’s there. You can microchip your pet at ECCHA for just $25 any day of the week! Call (715) 839-4747 option 6 to schedule your appointment.

Keep collars & ID tags up-to-date

While it may seem obvious, collars and ID tags with up-to-date information can be extremely vital for someone to be able to identify and return your lost pet. Many pet owners have even invested in Apple AirTags which custom collars can be created for that also include your current contact information. 

Spay & neuter your pet

Not only is spaying and neutering important to prevent overpopulation and keep more pets from ending up in shelters, but it’s also key to keeping your pets from wandering off and getting lost.

Unneutered males have a higher tendency to wander off from your home and get lost trying to seek out females. Females will also benefit from spaying surgery, as fewer males will attempt to seek them out. 

Keep your pet on a leash

Keeping your pet on that leash is one of the best ways to prevent your pet from getting lost. In fact, it is a requirement in the City of Eau Claire to have your pet on a leash when you are off your property. 

There are a variety of styles of leashes for different types of dogs and different environments, so make sure you find the right fit for both you and your dog. For instance, if you’re going for a walk in the park where other animals might be present, you should have a shorter leash with more control so you can regulate them easier. ECCHA recommends investing in a good quality, long lasting leash and ditching the extendable/flexi leashes. 

Secure your yard 

One of the most common ways a pet gets lost is when they escape their yard. Make sure you double check the fencing around your property. Even if they can’t jump the fence, they may be able to dig their way out. It is also a good idea to check for any loose panels or boards that your pet can fit through to prevent them from squeezing through the fence. If you do not have a fence, ensure your pet is properly leashed so they do not run away.

Be safe in the car

An easy time for pets to escape is when they’re in the car. They could easily run off when you open the car door, or even if you open the window too far. Leashes and seatbelts can be a lifesaver in the car for pet escape artists. Finally, do not leave your dog alone in the car — Not only is it unsafe, but someone could actually break into your car just to steal your dog.


For more on lost pet prevention, check out this page on our website.

Contact Us

Whether you’re looking to adopt, volunteer or simply want to chat about your love for animals, we’re all ears (and paws). Contact us today!

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