Lost Pet Statistics Project

For a bibliography of lost pet research studies, visit this page. For a discussion of existing lost pet statistics studies, see the Lost Pet Research Blog.

Why we need more lost pet statistics research

At this time there are very few published studies related directly to lost pet recovery.  The existing studies also have a number of shortcomings.  

  • Lord et al. (2007a) and Weiss et al. (2012) both found that most lost cats were found by returning home on their own.  This may indicate that most people are not using effective search techniques.
  • Most studies didn’t separate data between indoor and outdoor access cats.  Anyone with experience in lost pet recovery knows that search and recovery statistics and methods vary a lot between these two categories.
  • The Lord et al. (2007a and 2007b) studies have biased samples.  They only contacted lost pet owners that had placed a lost pet advertisement in the newspaper or contacted a local animal agency (e.g. shelter).

Perhaps most important, few people surveyed in the published research received any professional help in the search for their lost pets.  In Huang et al. (2018) only 24% of people indicated that they received help from a pet detective or volunteer lost pet recovery service/group in the search for their lost cat.  Of those people, 70% indicated that this method helped the most in finding their cat.  

Suggestions and Next Steps for Future Lost Pet Statistics Research

There is clearly a need for data collection of lost pet recovery statistics by lost pet recovery specialists or groups and/or their clients.  At this time I am researching options for future lost pet statistics research and assessing interest in participation.  If you are potentially interested in participating, please visit this page.

Some options for lost pet statistics data collection include:

  • Create a Case Log template that would facilitate systematic data collection among lost pet recovery individuals/groups.
  • Create a full length survey to be completed by pet owner's and/or pet detectives after the pet is found.
  • Create shorter surveys on different lost pet recovery topics.  For example, how far are lost dogs/cats found from the site of a car accident.

Next Steps

Prior to starting launching any surveys, I want to learn more about survey design.  I am currently taking some online classes in effective survey design.

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