Recommended Lost Pet Search Equipment

The following lost pet search equipment is recommended by Lost Pet Research and Recovery based on over 10 years of lost pet recovery experience.  Also included are some tools recommended by other pet detectives.  If you have suggestions, please add them in the comments.

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Search Equipment

I carry the following equipment on almost all my searches.  Items used less frequently are noted in the description.  

Flashlight

This is my number one search tool that I always carry on a lost cat search and most lost dog searches.  My favorite flashlight so far is by Feit Electric.  I have an older model of the one shown here.  In general I recommend any flashlight with at least 500 lumens, a sliding zoom lens, good battery life, and easy to replace batteries (not specialty batteries).

Feit Electric FL1000 1000 Lumens Ultra Bright 3-Cell C LED Flashlight
  • ultra bright & long-lasting – superior quality flashlight is constructed from aircraft grade...
  • adjustable focus & two modes – 2 light settings (high,low); sliding head allows for fast light...
  • two lumens settings – you can choose 1000 or 260 lumens; the light has a run time of up to 49...

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Knee Pads

I wish that I bought these years ago.  When looking for a lost cat, you need to get down on the ground a lot to conduct an effective search.  Most often, I only wear one pad on my dominant knee since I find them a little uncomfortable for walking.  I think the ones that I own are from Home Depot or Lowes and look similar to these, but only have one strap.

Sale
NoCry Non-Slip Work Knee Pads for Men and Women with Thick Soft Foam Padding,...
  • KNEEL ANYWHERE WITH OUR NON SLIP MENS KNEE PADS. Looking for gardening knee pads that won’t leave...
  • STAY COMFORTABLE AS YOU WORK. These knee pads for flooring reduce the stress of kneeling on hard...
  • KNEE PADS FOR WOMEN AND MEN. Thanks to the adjustable neoprene straps, these foam knee pads for work...

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Digital Camera and/or Cell Phone

I always carry a small digital camera.  I use this to search in tight places for hiding cats or dogs.  This usually involves sticking my hand in small dark holes and snapping a few pictures.  Some people use their cell phone instead to take photos or video, but I find my old camera easier to use.  I also use my digital camera to take photos of any animal sightings (with the 10x optical zoom) and to check photos on my SD card wildlife cameras.  

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5S 9MP Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle MEGA Optical...
  • 9-megapixel resolution captures enough detail for poster-sized prints
  • 10x optical zoom Leica DC lens; Face Detection
  • New Panasonic Venus Engine IV improves noise reduction, elevates the detection accuracy and...

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Borescope or Inspection Camera

I almost always carry my borescope, but I only use it after first trying to search with my flashlight and digital camera.  The small screen makes it difficult to see hiding animals clearly unless you can catch their eye shine.  It is most useful for checking in holes, in walls, and under sheds (close to the ground).

The borescope that I purchased in 2018 is no longer available, but for my next model, I plan to buy one with a shorter (perhaps 3-6 foot) rigid cable like this one.  The 10-foot cable that I have is too long and not rigid enough after extended more than 3-4 feet.  Most of the ones that attach to cell cameras have flimsy cables that aren't much use.

RIDGID 40043 Micro CA-25 Hand-Held Inspection Camera with 4' Cable, Borescope,...
  • HAND-HELD INSPECTION CAMERA: Offers visual detection, diagnosis, and confirmation in tight spots and...
  • WATERPROOF CAMERA HEAD AND CABLE: Useful for inspecting areas, gaps, and holes under water, making...
  • DURABLE AND EASY-TO-USE: Features a 3/4" anodized aluminum camera head for superior durability with...

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Capture Net

I rarely carry a net with me, but always keep one or more in my car.  These are most often used for lost cats that are found hiding in an enclosed space.  Usually I prefer to have the owner lure the cat out or set a humane cat trap and camera.  However, if the cat is in a space where they are unlikely to escape or run away, I will use a net.

My primary net is a folding net like the one pictured here.  But my net is from ACES with a 17" depth and (presumably) higher quality netting.  I also recently purchased a Humaniac Cage Net, but haven't used it yet.

I usually have the owner bring a towel or small blanket on the search.  In most cases, I have used this for carrying a found cat and not a net or carrier.

PLUSINNO Floating Fishing Net for Fly, Kayak, Catfish, Bass,Steelhead, Salmon,...
  • SECOND GENERATION FLOATING FISHING LANDING NET -A new floating net head. Two float tubes added to...
  • FOLDABLE,RETRACTABLE & EASY TO USE - Triangular Shape Design. Telescopic handle. Hoop size: 15.5",...
  • RUBBER COATED NON-SNAG NET - Made from snagless coated nylon and strong hexagonal structure mesh...

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Animal Handling Gloves

When handling an animal in a net, I always wear animal handling gloves.  I bought my gloves from ACES and they look similar to these.  This design provides protection but also still allows dexterity.  

Snappy Snare

I own a Snappy Snare, but have never used it.  Whenever I've been close enough to a loose dog to use one, I've never had it on me.  However, I'm including it on this list because many dog trappers swear by them.  

Surveillance Equipment

These are my most frequently used search equipment for surveillance and capture of lost dogs and cats.  Items used less frequently are noted in the description.  

Security Cameras

This is my number one tool for finding escaped indoor cats.  Learn more here.  My favorite are the Blink Outdoor cameras (pictured).  I also like the Wyze v3 camera if you are on a budget.  Other pet detectives prefer Ring, Reolink or Arlo.  

Most of these cameras can be purchased as wifi or cellular versions.  The cellular security cameras are usually best for use in lost dog trapping (where wifi is not available).

Sale
Blink Outdoor 4 (4th Gen) – Wire-free smart security camera, two-year battery...
  • Outdoor 4 is our fourth generation wire-free smart security camera that helps you protect your home...
  • See and speak from the Blink app — Experience 1080p HD live view, infrared night vision, and crisp...
  • Two-year battery life — Set up yourself in minutes and get up to two years of power with the...

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cellular Wildlife Cameras

I use cellular wildlife cameras for monitoring humane traps for cats and dogs.  Trapping is much safer and more successful with live monitoring of the trap.  They are also useful for checking potential sightings.

I use the Ridgetec Lookout and Browning Wireless Defender Pro Scout.  I also like the SpyPoint Link Micro if you are on a budget.  

Since wildlife cameras are always changing, I suggest checking TrailCamPro.com for the newest reviews and recommendations.  Cameras purchased from TrailCamPro include a 2-year warranty and 90-day returns. 

Sale
SPYPOINT LINK-MICRO-LTE Trail Camera-4 LED Infrared Flash with 80'f Detection...
  • INDUSTRY LEADING VALUE: SPYPOINT LINK-MICRO-LTE Cellular Trail Cameras offers not only cutting-edge...
  • ULTRA-COMPACT DESIGN: SPYPOINT Outdoor Deer Camera is remarkably small, but even more so when you...
  • REDUCE HUMAN IMPACT: Moving your scouting deer cam strategy to a Cellular Trail Cam, allows you to...

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SD Card Wildlife Cameras

Some people might argue that SD card cameras are no longer useful.  However, I find that good quality SD card cameras are less likely to miss taking photos/video of a lost cat or small dog than similar priced wifi or cellular security cameras.  So I often like to use an SD card camera in addition to make sure that I'm not missing anything important.  They are also still useful in areas without cellular service.

My favorite SD card cameras are Browning cameras.  I recommend selecting a camera with a blackout or black flash.  A built in cable lock attachment is also a good choice.

Since wildlife cameras are always changing, I suggest checking TrailCamPro.com for the newest reviews and recommendations.  Cameras purchased from TrailCamPro include a 2-year warranty and 90-day returns. 

Browning Trail Cameras Dark Ops Extreme 16MP Game Camera Bundle with Ultra 32GB...
  • Bundle Includes: Browning Trail Cameras Dark Ops Extreme 16MP Game Camera, Ultra 32GB Class 10 SD...
  • Images and Videos: Featuring image capturing at 16MP and full 1280 x 720 HD videos from 5 seconds to...
  • Covert Game Camera: With a compact case size of 4.5 x 3.25 x 2.5 inch along with an invisible...

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wildlife Camera Accessories

Most cameras require an SD card or microSD card, which is sometimes included.  If you have old SD cards lying around, these may not work with cellular cameras.  You may also need a card reader for your phone or computer.  

For security purposes, I recommend getting a good python cable lock.  I usually buy them in a pack so they all have the same key.  Some of the cheaper cameras are not compatible with a cable lock.  

Good quality batteries like Energizer Ultimate Lithium will make your camera last longer.  With lower quality batteries, some cameras may stop taking and/or transmitting photos when the batteries fall below 50% power.

SanDisk 32GB Extreme SDHC UHS-I Memory Card - C10, U3, V30, 4K, UHD, SD Card -...
Master Lock 8418D Python Cable Lock with Key, 1 Pack
Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA 12 Battery Super Pack.
Beikell SD Card Reader,Dual Connector USB C USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader Adapter -...
SanDisk 32GB Extreme SDHC UHS-I Memory Card - C10, U3, V30, 4K, UHD, SD Card -...
Master Lock 8418D Python Cable Lock with Key, 1 Pack
Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA 12 Battery Super Pack.
Beikell SD Card Reader,Dual Connector USB C USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader Adapter -...
$9.99
$26.70
$32.95
$6.99
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
SanDisk 32GB Extreme SDHC UHS-I Memory Card - C10, U3, V30, 4K, UHD, SD Card -...
SanDisk 32GB Extreme SDHC UHS-I Memory Card - C10, U3, V30, 4K, UHD, SD Card -...
$9.99
Amazon Prime
Master Lock 8418D Python Cable Lock with Key, 1 Pack
Master Lock 8418D Python Cable Lock with Key, 1 Pack
$26.70
Amazon Prime
Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA 12 Battery Super Pack.
Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA 12 Battery Super Pack.
$32.95
Amazon Prime
Beikell SD Card Reader,Dual Connector USB C USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader Adapter -...
Beikell SD Card Reader,Dual Connector USB C USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader Adapter -...
$6.99
Amazon Prime

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Humane Trapping Equipment

I primarily work escaped indoor cat and skittish lost dog cases, so trapping is a large part of my business.  Good quality trap brands include TruCatch, Tomahawk and Safeguard.  Havahart is okay if you need  to find a trap quickly.  I recommend avoiding the cheaper traps such as those at Tractor Supply or Harbor Freight.  

Humane Cat Traps

For cats, I prefer larger cage traps with sliding rear doors.  I have a slight preference for gravity drop doors over spring-loaded.  When trapping cats, it's also best to go with a trap that is designed specifically for cats.  TruCatch and some Tomahawk traps (Neighborhood Cats and FixNation) are designed with a larger trip plate which is harder for cats to step over.

My favorites cat traps are TruCatch 36D and Fat Cat.  However, Tomahawk has a new design gravity door trap that might be even better: GT606 Neighborhood Cats Gravity Trap. I own several of the Humane Way Cat Traps.  They are good for smaller cats (less than 12 lbs), but are lower quality traps.

Tomahawk Model GT606 - Neighborhood Cats Gravity Trap with Non-Spring Loaded...
Tomahawk Model GT608 Gravity Trap with Easy Release Door
Tomahawk Live Trap - Model 606NC - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Trap -...
Tomahawk Live Trap - Model 608NC - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Trap -...
Tomahawk Model GT606 - Neighborhood Cats Gravity Trap with Non-Spring Loaded...
Tomahawk Model GT608 Gravity Trap with Easy Release Door
Tomahawk Live Trap - Model 606NC - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Trap -...
Tomahawk Live Trap - Model 608NC - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Trap -...
Gravity Style Door
Gravity Style Door
Spring-loaded Door
Spring-loaded Door
Sliding Rear Door
Sliding Rear Door
Sliding Rear Door
Sliding Rear Door
30"L x 9"W x 11"H
36"L x 12"W x 12"H
30"L x 10"W x 12"H
36"L x 10"W x 12"H
Price not available
Price not available
Price not available
$130.00
Tomahawk Model GT606 - Neighborhood Cats Gravity Trap with Non-Spring Loaded...
Tomahawk Model GT606 - Neighborhood Cats Gravity Trap with Non-Spring Loaded...
Gravity Style Door
Sliding Rear Door
30"L x 9"W x 11"H
Price not available
Tomahawk Model GT608 Gravity Trap with Easy Release Door
Tomahawk Model GT608 Gravity Trap with Easy Release Door
Gravity Style Door
Sliding Rear Door
36"L x 12"W x 12"H
Price not available
Tomahawk Live Trap - Model 606NC - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Trap -...
Tomahawk Live Trap - Model 606NC - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Trap -...
Spring-loaded Door
Sliding Rear Door
30"L x 10"W x 12"H
Price not available
Tomahawk Live Trap - Model 608NC - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Trap -...
Tomahawk Live Trap - Model 608NC - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Trap -...
Spring-loaded Door
Sliding Rear Door
36"L x 10"W x 12"H
$130.00

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Tru Catch 30FCD Fat Cat Humane Live Animal Trap - Easy & Safe Catch & Release...
Tru Catch 30LTD Humane Live Animal Trap - Easy & Safe Catch & Release for Cats,...
Tru Catch 30FCD Fat Cat Humane Live Animal Trap - Easy & Safe Catch & Release...
Tru Catch 30LTD Humane Live Animal Trap - Easy & Safe Catch & Release for Cats,...
Gravity Style Door
Gravity Style Door
Sliding Rear Door
Sliding Rear Door
30"L x 14"H x 12"W
30"L x 9"W x 11"H
$149.99
$114.99
Tru Catch 30FCD Fat Cat Humane Live Animal Trap - Easy & Safe Catch & Release...
Tru Catch 30FCD Fat Cat Humane Live Animal Trap - Easy & Safe Catch & Release...
Gravity Style Door
Sliding Rear Door
30"L x 14"H x 12"W
$149.99
Tru Catch 30LTD Humane Live Animal Trap - Easy & Safe Catch & Release for Cats,...
Tru Catch 30LTD Humane Live Animal Trap - Easy & Safe Catch & Release for Cats,...
Gravity Style Door
Sliding Rear Door
30"L x 9"W x 11"H
$114.99

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Humane Way Folding 32 Inch Live Humane Animal Trap - Safe Traps for All Animals...
Humane Way Folding 32 Inch Live Humane Animal Trap - Safe Traps for All Animals...
Gravity Style Door
No Sliding Rear Door
32"L x 10"H x 12"W
Amazon Prime
$44.94
Humane Way Folding 32 Inch Live Humane Animal Trap - Safe Traps for All Animals...
Humane Way Folding 32 Inch Live Humane Animal Trap - Safe Traps for All Animals...
Gravity Style Door
No Sliding Rear Door
32"L x 10"H x 12"W
Amazon Prime
$44.94

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For more information on finding and selecting a trap, check out my articles on Best Humane Cat Traps.

Humane Dog Traps

For dog traps, I prefer Tomahawk and Safeguard traps.  The larger TruCatch traps have a known "door bounce" issue that sometimes allows dogs to escape.  

One trap that I really like is the Safeguard Large Dog Trap or Tomahawk 610C.  These traps are 72" long and will catch most dogs.  Tomahawk also offers a folding version if you can't fit the rigid model in your car.

If you are on a budget or need to get a dog trap, the Humane Way dog trap is okay.  I've used several and they have worked fine.  The trap quality is inferior to others and is susceptible to damage over time.  I definitely do NOT recommend the CountyLine large trap available at Tractor Supply.

Humane Way Folding 50 Inch Live Humane Animal Trap - Safe Traps for All Animals...
Humane Way Folding 50 Inch Live Humane Animal Trap - Safe Traps for All Animals...
Gravity Style Door
No Sliding Rear Door
50"L x 20"W x 26"H
Amazon Prime
$179.99
Humane Way Folding 50 Inch Live Humane Animal Trap - Safe Traps for All Animals...
Humane Way Folding 50 Inch Live Humane Animal Trap - Safe Traps for All Animals...
Gravity Style Door
No Sliding Rear Door
50"L x 20"W x 26"H
Amazon Prime
$179.99

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For more information on finding and selecting dog traps, check out my article on Best Humane Dog Traps.

Specialty Traps

For hard-to-trap cats, I find a drop trap is invaluable.  I have a nice wooden one from Alley Cat Allies, and you can find similar designs on the Drop Trap Design Bank.  I also own a metal drop trap from Tomahawk that I like.  That one comes with the option of a remote trigger.

Tomahawk Live Trap - Model DT1 - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Drop Trap...
Tomahawk Model DT2 - XL 4' Drop Trap Designed by Neighborhood Cats Drop Trap
Tomahawk Live Trap - Model DT1 - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Drop Trap...
Tomahawk Model DT2 - XL 4' Drop Trap Designed by Neighborhood Cats Drop Trap
36"L x 36"W x 14"H
48"L x 48"W x 14"W
Price not available
Price not available
Tomahawk Live Trap - Model DT1 - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Drop Trap...
Tomahawk Live Trap - Model DT1 - Tomahawk TNR Series Neighborhood Cats Drop Trap...
36"L x 36"W x 14"H
Price not available
Tomahawk Model DT2 - XL 4' Drop Trap Designed by Neighborhood Cats Drop Trap
Tomahawk Model DT2 - XL 4' Drop Trap Designed by Neighborhood Cats Drop Trap
48"L x 48"W x 14"W
Price not available

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For hard-to-trap dogs I usually use a custom made enclosure trap.  As a last resort I have a Collarum.  

Motion Alarms for Trapping

Monitoring the trap with a cellular or wifi camera is the best option if you can't do so in person.  The second best option is to alarm the trap using a motion alarm or driveway alarm.  

The actual range of the driveway alarm is often far less than the advertised range.  Unless you are trapping right outside your house, I recommend getting one with at least a 1/2 mile signal range.  I still use the Chamberlain Motion Alarm, but these have been discontinued.  

Driveway Alarm Wireless Outside, 1byone Motion Sensor Alarm 1000 FT Range Extra...
eMACROS 1/2 Mile Long Range Solar Wireless Driveway Alarm Outdoor Weather...
Driveway Alarm Wireless Outside, 1byone Motion Sensor Alarm 1000 FT Range Extra...
eMACROS 1/2 Mile Long Range Solar Wireless Driveway Alarm Outdoor Weather...
Max 1,000 foot range
Max 1/2 mile range
$27.99
$42.99
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Driveway Alarm Wireless Outside, 1byone Motion Sensor Alarm 1000 FT Range Extra...
Driveway Alarm Wireless Outside, 1byone Motion Sensor Alarm 1000 FT Range Extra...
Max 1,000 foot range
$27.99
Amazon Prime
eMACROS 1/2 Mile Long Range Solar Wireless Driveway Alarm Outdoor Weather...
eMACROS 1/2 Mile Long Range Solar Wireless Driveway Alarm Outdoor Weather...
Max 1/2 mile range
$42.99
Amazon Prime

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pet Trackers

Not exactly search tools, but when you work in lost pet recovery, you do everything you can to never lose your own pets.  So I have tested out several different pet trackers.

GPS Trackers for Dogs

Search dog Dante wore a Whistle GPS for most of his life.  Whistle has a better battery life than most trackers available.  Fi looks like another good one, but I haven't tried it yet.  I have also used Tractive, but found the battery life too short.  When researching a GPS tracker, battery life is one of the most important features.  

Whistle GPS + Health + Fitness - Smart Dog Collar, Waterproof Dog GPS Tracker...
  • Health Monitoring. Catch potential health issues before they become problems. Proactive alerts for...
  • Fitness Features. Set fitness goals based on breed, age, and weight. Achieve fitness goals by...
  • Location Alerts. Get notified when your pet leaves a designated safe place. This collar can track...

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Trackers for Cats

My own cats have been wearing TabCat radio trackers (formerly called Loc8tor Pet) since 2015.  For more recommendations on trackers for cats, see my article.

Sale
Tabcat v2 Cat Tracker - Includes 2 Tags, No Subscription Needed - Lightweight...
  • NO SUBSCRIPTION; Upgrade to this advanced pet tracker from Tabcat; our cat collar tag operates on...
  • QUICKLY FIND YOUR CAT; Our cat tracker allows you to quickly find your cat using directional audio...
  • INCREDIBLY ACCURATE; Our technology works where GPS won’t and with significantly lower emissions;...

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sources for Lost Pet Search Equipment

Amazon is a good source for security cameras and some wildlife cameras.  They sometimes sell Tomahawk traps but shipping can be slow.  Security cameras can also be found at Best Buy.

Some good companies that sell animal control supplies and traps include ACES and Wildlife Control Supplies.  For traps, you can also go directly to the company.  Good quality trap brands include TruCatchTomahawk and Safeguard

If you need to find a trap quickly, you can also try hardware stores or feed and grain stores.  Most often these will have Havahart traps, which are okay.  I'm not a fan of the Easy Set or the Two Door Havahart Traps though as I see more cats escape these.  I also do not suggest buying cheap traps from Tractor Supply or Harbor Freight.  If the trap material is flimsy, a dog or cat may escape and/or injure themselves.

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