Chances of Finding a Lost Pet After 24 Hours


What are the chances of finding a lost dog or cat after 24 hours have passed? 


You did everything you could the moment you found out your pet is missing, but the sun has set you still haven’t got any solid leads. Don’t lose hope! You still have fairly good odds of finding a lost pet, but you must not give up. You must also understand the most common reasons as to why pets run away, and how domesticated cats and dogs are likely to behave when out on their own. Such information helps you narrow down where or how far your runaway pet may have gone.

Are the odds in your favor? 


Statistically, a large percentage of dogs and cats reported lost have been successfully reunited with their owners. According to a 2012 survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA): 


Ø  Only 15% of households surveyed have had a dog or cat missing in five years


Ø  There’s almost an equal percentage of reported missing cats (14%) as of missing dogs (15%)


Ø  There’s a very high chance of a dog being found (93%) but the odds of finding a missing cat are also high (75%)


Ø  About 49% of dog owners and 30% of cat owners found their missing pet by searching the neighborhood 


Ø  Around 59% of cat owners were lucky enough for their missing pet to return home on their own 


Ø  Dogs that have ID tags or a microchip have a 15% higher chance of being found


These lost pet statistics from ASPCA are very likely encouraging if you’re currently dealing with the problem of a missing pet. If you don’t waste time taking action and reporting your lost pet to all relevant channels, chances of finding a lost dog after 24 hours isn’t bad at all. 

Where did your pet go?  

There are quite a lot of possible places where a missing cat or dog might be. Pets may run away if they’re suffering from anxiety, or the simple reason that they were distracted exploring around or chasing a fast-moving squirrel. Based on animal behavior and instincts, as well as the experiences of people who were able to find their missing pet, you have great odds of finding a lost cat or dog after 24 hours if you take these things into consideration: 

1. Speed, time, and distance

How long has your pet gone missing and how fast can he run? Even a small dog or a cat can cover a distance of 24 miles in just 8 hours--that is, if he runs non-stop for 3mph. So, take out your map, consider how fast and how long your dog may have run away, and then narrow down the radius of the areas where you’d be conducting your search. 


2. Picked up by a stranger or a neighbor

If your pet gets picked up by someone, maybe a neighbor or a stranger, it’s possible that the person is either looking for the owner or decides to keep the pet for a while. He may transport the animal to another location, release or give the lost animal away, or call a pound or shelter about the missing pet. 


Any or all of these things can happen in a week or not until after several months. With all these different possibilities in mind, there’s always a chance to find your pet as long as you don’t stop searching. 


3. Trapped

Your missing pet might be closer to you than you think. There’s a chance that he has been trapped in a vacant house, a construction site, an outbuilding, or under someone’s home and can’t get out. This is why you have to be extra thorough in your search, by checking all possible places where a small animal may have been trapped. 


4. Lost pet behavior

While it’s true that most pets can make their own way home by some sort of internal compass, cats and dogs alike can just as easily get confused when they’ve been too far away from home for too long. But some predictive animal behavior could help you know where to start looking. 


For instance, domesticated pets that have been separated from their owners will run and search for shelter and food. Search places where your lost pet may have found access to these. Cats, on the other hand, often go missing in search of a mate. In a lot of cases, they manage to return home on their own.


5. Lost away from home

If your missing pet jumped off a car, was dumped, or got lost in unfamiliar territory, it’s a safe bet that he’d be roaming around the areas for weeks and months, waiting for his owner. You might not see your pet immediately as he could be lurking or be in survival mode, which would make him wary of other people, even if it’s you.


Find your pet after 24 hours


When you’ve had a pretty good understanding on where your missing pet may have gone to, it’s pretty clear that there’s no time limit to finding your lost pet. So even if it’s been over 24 hours since you last saw a trace of his cute snout and fluffy tail, continue following up on your search. 


Ø  Report your missing pet to


Ø  Create, print, post and distribute flyers to neighbors and strategic locations. You can go to to create a lost dog flyer in just a few steps.


Ø  Call pet clinics, animal rescue, and shelters in your area, and in nearby towns. Make a personal visit to these places if you can. Have them contact you if a dog or cat matching your pe’s description comes in.  


Ø  Plan a search radius and seek help from as many people as possible. Should any member of your search party finds your missing pet, you may caution them not to approach the animal directly as it might get scared off. You, as well, have to be careful when making your approach. 


Ø  Send out advertisements on local classifieds and online listings.

The odds of finding a lost dog after 24 hours is never as bad as you may fear. Wherever your pet might be, you know in your heart that he is out there searching and waiting for you as well. Don’t be so easy to give up! Continue searching and hopefully, the fateful day comes when you are finally together again.


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