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Missing Pet Advice

Is your pet missing right now?

Realising your pet is missing is a real shock. Panic sets in and you might ask yourself...

What can I do?
Where should I go? 
Who can I talk to?
Where do I start?

Remember the best thing to do if your pet goes missing is to stay calm.

We suggest the following steps.

  1. Report your pet missing to the NZCAR and check your contact details are up to date. The advantages of the NZCAR include:
    • The NZCAR has over 850 specialist companion animal organisations registered to use the database. These organisations are equipped with microchip readers to quickly scan found animals and have access to the NZCAR to find your contact details.
    • The NZCAR can activate the Scanner Angel network when a pet is missing. This specialised scanner/software system allows the NZCAR to send the lost pets microchip number to all our registered Halo Scanners. Scanner Angel also keeps a record of numbers scanned so if your pet has been missing for a few days we can check if it has been scanned by a Halo Scanner BEFORE you report it missing.
    • Your record on the NZCAR can not be changed without your permission so acts as a permanant lost pet beacon for animal agencies throughout New Zealand.
    • You can activiate the NZCAR services yourself at any time 24/7 by using the www.animalregister.co.nz web site. Or you can call the 0508 LOSTPET (567873) help line. This operates 7 days from 8am to midnight and has a message service for outside these hours.
  2. Place an ad on LostPet.co.nz. New Zealand's leading lost and found website and a FREE tool provided by the NZCAR. Remember to also regulary check the found notices too.
  3. Another very cool feature of LostPet.co.nz is that your new listing is also automatically notified to Neighbourly users in your area too.
  4. Try and establish how and when your pet went missing. Put out water and food in your garden in case he/she comes back on his or her own.
  5. Search locally first and check with neighbours. Make sure your pet isn’t in someone’s garden or house. Ask neighbours to check garages and sheds in case the animal is locked in.
  6. Make sure everyone in your area knows about your missing pet.
    • Use your local community group social media pages to spread the word. Larger city or region-wide pages are less useful because your listing will not stay visible for long. 
    • Ring your local Radio station with details. Many stations offer a free lost and found animal segment each day.
    • Ask your local community newspaper do they have a free ad for lost pets.
    • Notify your local SPCA and vets (use our location tool by clicking here). Also for dogs your Council Dog Control Officers in case they are handed in or collected.
    • Produce a poster describing your pet in as much detail as possible
(breed, size, colour, and any distinguishing features), including a photograph. State when and where lost. Give contact details (day and evening). 
    • Distribute the leaflets to shops, vets, rescue centres, kennels, catteries, pubs, milkmen, postmen, farmers, neighbours. Pin on local notice boards.

If you follow these steps you stand a good chance of finding your missing pet. It may take time. You may need to repeat some of them. But whatever you do, don’t give up on your pet. He or she will never give up on you.

Once you have your pet back home again, please remember to:

  • Notify everyone who was helping you look for your pet, and take down all the leaflets.
  • Get your pet microchipped and registered on the NZCAR, if they are not already
  • Make sure your pet has a disc on his/her collar with your name, current address and phone number.
  • Arrange for your dog or cat to be microchipped if they haven’t already been.
  • Repair any broken fences or gates, in case this was how they escaped.
  • Be careful in future about closing doors, gates and cage doors.
  • Make sure you have a good photograph of your pet for identification purposes.
  • Do keep your cat indoors for a suitable period if you have recently acquired them or moved house.

The LostPet.co.nz lost and found service is a nationwide service for lost and found pets. Provided by the NZCAR it offers a series of free tools, resources and services. Our goal is one free site where every lost and found animal can be listed.


For added security and to increase the chance of your lost pet getting home, register with the NZCAR.


The SPCA is New Zealand's leading animal welfare organisation, and a stakeholder of the NZCAR.


LostPet.co.nz is proud to partner with Neighbourly to help more lost pets get home.