To guard against losing a dog or cat, equip it with a durable collar and attach a tag to it that gives your name, address, and telephone number. A collar should be snug (but not tight) to prevent it from slipping off the pet’s head. Even a pet that lives indoors should have a tag; a pet can easily dart through an open door or window.
If you do lose a pet, work outward from the spot where you think the animal was lost, searching in widening circles. A dog may come at your call, but a cat may crouch in hiding (often inside, in closets or under furniture). Use a flashlight when searching dark areas; the light reflecting from its eyes makes the animal easier to spot.
If you cannot find the pet, inform the police or a local animal pound. Tell neighbors; post notices in stores and post offices; advertise in the local newspaper and offer a reward; check the “lost animals” section in that paper. Also check with the mail deliverer and tradespeople who often see stray animals on their rounds, and with neighborhood veterinarians. Returning a lost pet
If you find a pet that seems lost, first look for an identification tag, then phone the neighbors-it may be a local pet on the loose. If the animal looks thin or sickly, it is probably lost or abandoned; if you cannot determine its owners, contact the local humane society (check the Yellow Pages under “Animal Shelters”), dog warden, or police headquarters for advice.
Be careful about handling a strange animal, particularly one that seems frightened or unfriendly. An animal that is salivating or twitching may have rabies. If you decide to adopt a pet whose owner cannot be found, first try making friends with it.
A badly neglected animal may need feeding once or twice before it will trust you. Before taking a stray into your home, have it examined by a veterinarian for mange, ringworm, fleas, and other parasites and diseases.