A true Amber Alert is used to advertise far and wide when a missing child is suspected of being abducted. Some companies have attempted to create a similar service (though on a much smaller scale) to alert people in a town or neighborhood when a pet goes missing.
Pet Amber Alert companies offer one or more of the following services:
- Automated phone messages to people that live in the area where your pet went missing.
- A flyer faxed and/or emailed to local vets, shelters and animal related businesses.
- Boosted Facebook posts. These appear as sponsored posts on the Facebook timelines of people that live in the area where your pet went missing. This may be a 1 to 10 mile radius depending on the area lost and/or company used.
- Other social media ads such as Twitter or Instagram.
- Paid Google Ads. These appear as ads on webpages visited by people that live in the area where your pet went missing.
- Postcards mailed to people living in the area where your pet went missing.
These are the same company and share a lost pet database. You can submit a FREE lost pet report to their database and they will email or fax a lost pet flyer to at least the closest 25 shelters, vets, rescues groups and other animal related businesses. After you submit your listing, you can login and view a list of where your flyer was sent. You an upgrade your listing for a small fee such as an extended listing (free listings are only posted for one week) or adding your phone number or a reward amount. These add-ons come with a 30 day money back guarantee if your pet is not found. Phone call services are an additional fee and are non-refundable. For more information on how their services work, check out their Frequently Asked Questions (located at the bottom of their site). I definitely recommend using their free alert service. I’m not yet sold on the usefulness of phone call alerts. I think that they can help in some circumstances such as lost dogs and friendly lost cats, but other advertising methods are often more effective for lost indoor-only cats.
IMPORTANT – if you use any of the FREE services offered by LostMyDoggie and LostMyKitty, make sure to add them to your “safe sender” list and/or check your spam folder periodically. If people attempt to reach you via the contact link on the lost pet database, this important email could end up in your spam folder and never be seen!
This company also offers a FREE listing to their database and an email alert to shelters, rescues and vets. After you post your listing, you can login and view the list of businesses emailed. They also create a Facebook post and share it to the their Facebook page for your region. For a fee, they will “boost” your Facebook post to people that live within 10 miles of where your pet went missing. Boosted posts are shown as “sponsored” posts that appear in people’s Facebook timelines. This might be effective for a lost dog, but the advertising area is set too large for most lost cats. I recommend their free posting service, but I’m not yet sure about the effectiveness of boosted posts. I’m currently testing some out myself on a limited basis. So far I have had one lost goat found via boosted Facebook post.
Pet Amber Alert Companies
These companies will send out a customized lost pet phone calls or postcards to your neighbors. Some also offer paid advertising via Facebook or Google ads. Most will list your pet on their online database and may share your posting on Facebook. A few offer free emails or faxes to shelters, rescues, vets and other lost pet businesses (see recommended services above). These types of services are most effective for lost dogs and friendly lost cats.
FindToto – If you are going to use a paid service, I might suggest this one since it provides phone call alerts, boosted Facebook posts and sponsored Google Ads all within the alert package. According to their website, phone call alerts go to both mobile and home phones. The boosted Facebook post appears as a sponsored post on the timeline of people living within the area where your pet went missing. The radius may be from one to 10 miles depending on the density of households. The Google Ad appears on random webpages visited by people who live in the area where your pet went missing. They also provide Twitter and Instagram ads.
LostMyDoggie.com (sponsored link) – offers phone call alerts and emailed/faxed or mailed flyers to local shelters, rescues, vets and pet businesses. If you only want to do a phone call alert, their cost is significantly lower than FindToto for most packages. They also offer a free database listing.
LostMyKitty.com (sponsored link) – offers phone call alerts and emailed/faxed or mailed flyers to local shelters, rescues, vets and pet businesses. If you only want to do a phone call alert, their cost is significantly lower than FindToto for most packages. They also offer a free database listing.
Lost Pet Cards – offers lost pet post cards
PawBoost – offers free and sponsored Facebook posts. See above for more info.
Pet Harbor – offers lost pet post cards
Your local post office: you can also create your own postcard or flyer and have your post office deliver it for you. This is often considerably cheaper than the postcard companies, which often have a minimum order of 500-1000 cards. For more information, visit your post office or check out Every Door Direct Mail. Please note that post cards must meet certain specifications to be mailed using this service.
Companies to Avoid
When you search the internet for Pet Amber Alert companies, one of the top listed companies is the aptly named Pet Amber Alert, which is a company that sends out phone and poster alerts for lost pets. I used to list them as a resource on my business website, but I have since removed them after hearing numerous complaints (both from my clients and online). They aren’t a scam but they appear to be a very poorly run business. They are listed on the Better Business Bureau website with an F rating in two locations and a B rating on their newest listing.
For more information check out these Better Business Bureau listings:
They used to be called Amber Pet Alert but later changed to Pet Amber Alert probably due to the bad publicity generated around the original name. It also looks like some other company, Amber Alert for Pets, has since purchased the www.amberpetalert.com domain name so the BBB listing links to the wrong company which is confusing. However, you can tell the BBB listings are for the same company because the owner is listed as Mark Jakubczak in all cases.
Perhaps the B rating is an indication that Amber Pet Alert is improving their services. The BBB file was only opened in January 2010, so I will certainly be keeping an eye on it as well as continuing to listen to the experiences of my clients who have used their services. I would like to be able to add them back to my list of recommended resources since they do offer services that the other amber alert companies do not, and their prices are very reasonable.
Local Amber Alerts
Some states offer Amber Pet Alerts (for dogs only as far as I know) through their state Animal Control Officer Associations. To find out more about this, ask your local Animal Control Officer (ACO) or contact your state association. The way these usually work is the state ACO association will send an email or fax about your lost dog to all ACOs who belong to the association.