Lost pet posters are one of the most successful methods for finding lost cats and dogs, but only if they are designed effectively. An effective lost pet poster is both eye-catching and easy to read, especially from a distance.
Poster Versus a Flyer
The biggest mistake that people make is using their flyers as lost pet posters. Flyers are also important in a lost pet search, but they are meant to be distributed door-to-door, handed to people or posted in locations where people walk.
Lost Pet Poster
Lost Pet Flyer
Selecting a Poster Size
In general larger posters are much more noticeable. If you cannot afford large posters or if these are more likely to be taken down in your area, smaller posters CAN be effective if designed well and placed strategically. Many people use a combination of large and small posters.
Examples of Effective Lost Pet Posters
XL 22"x28" Poster
Extra large (22" x 28") florescent poster board posters are the most noticeable. These are best where cars are driving more than 50 mph or for large multi-lane roads.
Large 14"x22" Poster
Half-size poster board (14" x 22") posters are best where cars are driving less than 50 mph. Consists of two sheets of paper in page protectors taped to a half-sheet of poster board.
Ledger 11"x17" Poster
Ledger (11" x 17") posters are best where cars are driving less than 40 mph. If time rather than money is a concern, these are a good alternative to the 14" x 22" posters. These can be printed and laminated at an office supply store such as Staples.
Small 8.5"x11" Poster
Letter (8.5" x 11") posters are best where cars are driving less than 30 mph or (better yet) stopping. These posters can either be laminated or placed in page protectors to keep them dry. To make them more noticeable, use bright colors or attach the poster to a 1/4 piece of florescent poster board.
Getting Help with Poster Design
If you would like help with effective poster or flyer design, we offer several options.
- Lost Pet Poster Templates are available for download in the online store.
- Poster and Flyer Templates are included in the Lost Pet Recovery Online Instructions. These include Large, Ledger and Small Poster templates.
- Assistance with creation of two poster and/or flyer designs is included with the Comprehensive Lost Pet Consultation.
- Just want assistance with design of a poster or flyer? Submit a contact form.
You can also find some free help with XL poster design here:
Posters are most visible if you put them where cars have to stop or slow down or where lots of people walk. This is especially important if you decide to use one of the smaller size posters.
Be sure to place posters so that they are facing oncoming traffic. If you place them facing across the street, very few people driving or walking will notice them.
Please be aware that putting up posters may be against city/town bylaws in many locations. You may be able to find your town bylaws online or by contacting your Town Clerk.
While I certainly don't advocate breaking any laws, it has been my experience that signage laws are not enforced in many locations. However, I have heard stories of people receiving warnings or even fines in some states such as Florida.
A good indication of how strict your town may be about posting signs is whether other signs are posted (e.g. tag sale signs) and how long they stay up. Utility poles may also have lots of staples from previous posters.
While it is by far easiest to place posters on utility poles with a staple gun, please be aware that these poles are owned by the utility company and you are not supposed to affix anything to them. Nailing posters to trees is illegal in some states.
Please be sure to take down all your posters after you find your pet. Towns are more tolerant of posters if they aren't left up until they become ratty and fall apart.
Please be aware that putting flyers in mailboxes is against the law. In many locations this may not be enforced, but be aware that you could be subject to a fine.
Whenever possible, I recommend actually knocking on peoples' doors and handing them the flyer directly.
Other effective methods for distributing flyers:
- Secure the flyer on or around their door such as under the welcome mat.
- Turn your flyer into a door hanger and place on the door nob.
- Place your flyer in a plastic bag and put it on your neighbor's walkway. Add a rock to prevent the flyer from blowing away.
- Mail your flyers though this can get pretty expensive.