How Many Pets Go Missing Every Year?

It’s every pet owner’s biggest fear – my pet has gone missing. Every year millions of dogs and cats are lost with many of those who aren’t found ending up in shelters or the wilderness. What are the chances you will experience a lost pet?

The data on lost pets isn’t exact, many pets are found before they are reported to Animal Control and many pets go missing more than once in their lifetime. But non-profits like the ASPCA have looked into the frequency of lost pets to gain insight on how pets are lost and found.

In a 2012 survey the ASPCA saw that about 15 percent of respondents had a pet go missing in the previous 5 years and had a return rate of about 85 percent.

To put that into perspective The American Veterinary Medical Association estimated in 2016 that 57 percent of households in America had at least one dog or cat – a total of around 77 million dogs and 58 million cats. That’s a lot of animals! Even if only a fraction go missing every year that is still millions of heartbroken families.

The ASPCA reports that the number of missing cats is very similar to that of dogs with 14 percent for dogs and the slightly higher 15 percent for cats. However cats are less likely to be reunited with their owners once they go missing.

What do all these numbers mean? They mean that every year millions of pet owners go through the horrifying ordeal of trying to find their furry family member. Luckily most pets are found and reunited but not after a long and emotionally draining search.

The most common way lost pets are found is by physically searching the vicinity in which they were last seen. The ASPCA reports that 49 percent of lost dogs and 30 percent of lost cats were found by searching their neighborhood. This means that time is everything! Getting many sets of eyes on your neighborhood quickly is the best chance you have to find your pet.

How likely is it your pet will go missing? The American Humane Association estimates that about one in three pets will go missing in their lifetime.

If you are one of the unlucky pet owners searching for a lost pet what do you do?

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