Our latest research shows that the seemingly-distant worlds of pet ownership and road tripping have collided. A whopping 26% of Australian pet owners plan to take their pets away on holidays in the next year. So, we asked “how many people know what to do if they lost a pet on a roadtrip?”
Travel safety is the main priority – and not just for the kids!
For pet owners, the fear of losing your pet on a road trip can really put a dampener on the holiday season. 19% of Australian pet owners said that they’re worried about losing their furry (or feathery, or scaly) bestie on hols. And 54% worry about their pet being hit by a vehicle – something that can happen easily in strange surroundings.
Losing a pet even temporarily can be traumatic, especially if you’re road tripping for the holidays and both you and your pet are unfamiliar with the roads and surrounding areas.
Added to this, 16% of Australian car owners have had their car broken into or stolen in the past, giving pets another possible opportunity to escape.
So, if you’ve found yourself in a sticky situation and have lost your pet on a road trip, here’s what to do.
Lost Your Pet on a Road Trip?
If the worst happens, and your pet somehow gets out of your car or goes missing in an unfamiliar area, you’ll want to turn to for some help straight away. This can help you identify things like busy highways, parks, rivers, buildings, or similar.
You know your pet best. Even though you’ll be worried, try to stay calm and think about what your pet seeks out. Do they head for water as soon as they see a lake or pool? Are they likely to run away from busy roads or try to cross them? If you’ve been staying in the area for a day or two, they might go to a place that they’ve visited before.
Head to the most obvious place first to search and spread the word. Also, try to have someone stay put at your car, caravan, or guesthouse to keep an eye out for your missing pet returning “home.”
Spread the Word
The quicker you can let people in the local area know about your missing pet, the better. Here are five simple steps to follow if you’ve a lost pet on a roadtrip:
- Get a description, name, and relevant details on your pet (as well as a photo if possible) to local vets and animal shelters
- Make use of lost pet websites
- Put up flyers in local shops or well-frequented areas
- Ask people to post on community Facebook groups and ‘missing pet’ groups and communities on social media. If possible, join them and do so yourself. Include any tips on approaching your pet if someone sees them.
- Keep checking back on all these places
What to do if you find your pet
Not all pets will come running to you when you find them. They might be dehydrated, tired, or stressed and anxious. In these cases, their fight or flight instincts could kick in and your pet might run away, try to hide, or even become aggressive towards you.
If you find your pet and they seem frightened or aggressive, stay calm and call their name while remaining still. Don’t move toward them as they could find it threatening and bolt in fear.
Instead, fight your instincts to go straight to them and do the following:
- Make eye contact and stay still
- If you need to speak, use a calm voice
- Be patient and calm
- Bring toys, blankets, or something familiar from home for them to smell
- Come armed with food. Especially if your pet has been lost for a while, their hunger will often override their anxiety or stress.
By taking this calm and cautious approach, you’re more likely to get your pet back safely in your arms.
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best
Know that if you’ve taken your pet on holiday to an unfamiliar place which is often less secure than your home, it’s easier for them to get disoriented. They may also be more likely to eat something they shouldn’t. This might be something they’ve been given by a stranger, a poisonous plant, or even a rat or frog.
Stay optimistic, but take some time to prepare yourself for the possibility that your pet might not be found safe and well.
To further avoid making any pet safety faux pas’ while you’re road tripping with your pet, here’s our ultimate guide to pet safety in cars. And while you’re at it, here are some simple ways to pet proofing your car.
Before you leave, it’s a good idea to take out comprehensive car insurance – so there’s one less thing to think about when you’re on the road!
Lost pet on a roadtrip – over to you
Ever lost a pet while on a road trip? We’d love you to share your insights in the comments for others who fear they might lose a pet while on holidays?