Is your cat or dog lost or missing? We understand how heavy that can weigh on your heart. Here’s what you can do to help get your loved one back.

What to Do If You’ve Lost Your Pet

  1. Start searching for your pet immediately. Pets will usually hang around the area where they disappeared for 12-24 hours.
  2. If you have lost a pet you adopted from FOHA, our team of committed staff and volunteers would like to know and may be able to provide assistance.  Please contact FOHA by calling 703-385-0224, emailing foha_info@foha.org and/or post on our Facebook page
  3. Put up "Lost Pet" signs in your neighborhood. Use this template to create a PDF flyer using a photo and a description.  Post your flyer at intersections where cars typically  slow down. Put additional signs up in frequently visited areas, such as shopping centers, grocery stores, etc.  Your flyers will last longer in inclement weather if you put them in sleeve protectors, or an upside down plastic baggie.
  4. Ensure your microchip registration information is up to date.
  5. Create a Paw Boost and post on social media. Here’s are some sites you can post your message:
  6. Search your neighborhood when it's quiet, either in the early morning or evening hours. Walk slowly and call to your pet, then quietly listen for any response. A trick is to record the sound of your electric can opener and play it while searching or have a box of food with you and shake it as you search.
  7. When canvassing the neighborhood, you should always have your pet’s favorite treats on hand in case you need to coax him to you.
  8. Enlist the help of neighbors and friends.
  9. Call these locations as soon as your pet is lost and leave a "Lost Pet Report" with all area shelters:
    • Alexandria City: 703-838-4774
    • Arlington County: 703-931-9241
    • Fairfax County: 703-830-1100
    • Fairfax City: 703-385-7919
    • Prince William County: 703-792-6465
    • Eastern Loudoun County: 703-777-0406
    • Western Loudoun County: 540-882-3211
    • Prince George's County: 301-499-8300
    • Montgomery County: 240-773-5960
    • Howard.County: 410-313-2780
    • District of Columbia: 202-576-6664 (New York Ave); or 202-234-8626 (Georgia Ave)
  10. Call/visit the shelters regularly until your pet is found. People will often feed a stray animal for a while hoping it will find its way home. Weeks may pass before a "found pet" is reported or brought to a shelter.
  11. Go door to door in your neighborhood to see if anyone has seen your pet. Also ask your newspaper delivery person and your mail person.
  12. Look in people’s yards and around outside buildings. Your pet could be hiding behind a shed, etc. Also, look around areas where garbage is stored.
  13. Contact area veterinary offices and submit a “Lost Pet” report.
  14. Put food and water out. The pet may find his way home when he becomes thirsty or hungry.
  15. If you lost your cat, spread some of its kitty litter outside so it knows where home is.
  16. Remain calm. Your pet probably knows how to survive on his own for longer than you think.
  17. Keep track of where you called, so that you do not duplicate your effort. Also, when your pet is found, please contact the shelters and vet offices and let them know.