How To Mak...

How To Make A “Found Pet” Kit To Help Lost Cats And Dogs

By Andrea Quarracino | November 23, 2021

Whether lost pets always seem to cross your path, or you want to be the MacGyver of found pet preparedness, making a found pet kit to keep on hand (or in your car) can be an excellent place to start. Here's what you may need and how to best use it.

What Is a Found Pet Kit?

This kit consists of materials and supplies geared towards luring a pet to you and getting them to safety.

What Items Do I Need for a Found Pet Kit?

Gather the following materials to help you capture a lost dog or lost cat:

  • A spare nylon leash or slip lead↗

  • A cardboard carrier↗ (can help contain a found cat)   

  • Dog food and soft, enticing treats

  • A pop-top can of wet cat food (for ease of opening)

  • Bottled water

  • A flashlight or headlamp (to help find lost animals at night)

  • Phone numbers for local animal shelters

  • A blanket or towel

  • A pet first aid kit↗

How Do I Use My Found Pet Kit?

According to Amy-Jo Sites, director for Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control↗, safety should always be the top priority. "If you have a kit to help lost animals in your care, you should also take the time to understand dog body language." While you may have a dog or a cat at home, it's crucial to understand that not all pets are alike.

"Knowing the warning signs of fear↗ and aggression are important if you plan on helping lost animals," says Sites. "It's okay to step back and call your local animal services or control. Sometimes the best help you can provide is an accurate location, the direction of travel, and description of the lost pet so responders can quickly contain them."    

If you feel safe and prepared to put your found pet kit to use, try these tips:

Luring and Feeding a Lost Dog
  • It's not a good idea to call or chase a stray dog. Instead, try pet detective Kat Albrecht's 

     to attract a dog using a food lure and targeted body language, like avoiding eye contact and crinkling a bag of treats. 

  • Try a soft treat, like hot dog pieces. A lost dog will likely be hungry, and the smell of a soft treat can help bring them into your care.

How to Make Lost Pet Kit - Dog on Knees
Luring and Feeding a Lost Cat
  • You may be able to draw a lost outdoor cat into a humane trap or your care with enticing wet food. Be sure to remain calm and give the cat space to feel secure, especially if the cat’s in its hiding spot. Just be careful — some cats will panic, and you could get scratched or bitten if you attempt to pick them up. If you try to pick them up, consider wearing gloves or using a towel to protect your arms.

  • Start by offering wet food or soft treats, which might appeal to a scared, hungry cat.

I Have a Lost Pet in My Care, Now What?

Spread the word! If you found the lost pet in the neighborhood, ask around — and check out lost pet pages on social media platforms like Facebook, Craigslist, and Nextdoor. Keep an eye out for lost pet posters in your area as well.

  • Snap a photo and search our databaseIf you don't find an immediate match, you can create a found pet listing that will be searchable for pet parents, shelters, and rescuers nationwide.   

  • Check in with your local animal shelter or animal control office. Let them know that you found a pet and have it with you.

  • Know where to bring the lost cat. If you have a lost cat in your care, you can get them to a veterinarian, an animal shelter, or your local Petco↗ to scan for a pet microchip. This can be a vital step in reuniting a pet with their family.

  • Know where to bring the lost dog. As with cats, see if you can get a lost dog to an animal shelter, veterinarian, or your local Petco, where employees can scan them for a microchip.

It's always good to prepare when it comes to helping lost pets return home. Just remember that your first step in reuniting a lost pet should be to alert others that you've seen it. Snap a picture and upload it to Petco Love Lost to spread the word that you've found a missing pet, then alert your local animal shelter. These are crucial steps that you can take toward reuniting the pet with its family. 


Petco Love Lost

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