How to Make an Effective Missing Pet Poster

A poster can help you to recover a lost dog.
lost image by Friday from

If you lose your pet, you may be afraid that you’ll never see him again, but fast action on your part can often help to recover him quickly. Get the word out in the area where your pet disappeared, so that anybody who sees him will realize he's lost. One of the most effective things you can do to let people know about your missing pet is to post large signs in the area where you last saw him. An effective poster catches people’s attention and gives them a brief description of your lost pet -- and it may mean the difference between getting him back or not.

Step 1

Find the most recent clear color picture you have of your pet. This will be the centerpiece of your missing poster, so use a picture that clearly shows what your pet looks like.

Step 2

Create a missing pet flyer on a standard sheet of printer paper using whatever application you're comfortable with that allows you to import your pet's photo and to manipulate the text. Center your pet's photo on the page.

Step 3

Add very large text above and below your pet’s photo to catch the attention of passersby. Above his picture put his color, and below it put his breed. For example, if your pet is a brown Pomeranian, write BROWN in large block letters above the photo, and POMERANIAN in large block letters below it. If he is a mixed-breed dog, use a very brief description of his mix, such as “POODLE-X” for the breed. For cats other than Siamese and other familiar breeds, note the color of coat and length of fur. Use the largest, boldest plain font possible, ideally 72 point or larger, while still keeping each row of words on a single line.

Step 4

Insert a short paragraph with additional information between the photo and the large text, or below the large text or at the bottom of the poster. Anyone who wants to know more about your missing pet can stop to read this information once you have caught their attention with the large print and photo. Include your phone number and any other relevant information, such as your pet's name, but not your address. If the pet was wearing a collar or harness, describe it and any connected tags in detail, as well as any identifying characteristic your pet may have, such as multiple toes, any scars, docked tail or ears, or an unusual coat or fur pattern, as well as any other noticeable characteristic such as an ability to perform tricks.

Step 5

Print the flyer and place it inside of a plastic sheet protector, with the opening toward the bottom of the page. This will keep it readable even in bad weather.

Step 6

Stencil the word “Reward” near the top of a sheet of fluorescent poster board, and “Lost Dog" -- or substitute the right type of pet -- near the bottom. Orient the poster board vertically and use black permanent markers to create bold letters, making the text as large as possible. The Missing Pet Partnership advises that you have only five seconds to get drivers to read five words on your poster to alert them to your missing pet.. The bright color and bold, legible lettering will catch the eye of anyone who walks or drives past your poster.

Step 7

Tape the plastic-covered flyer in the center of the poster board. Use wide, clear tape to secure it on all sides so that moisture can’t get in, your flyer can’t fall out, and the paper can’t fall off of the poster board. Now when people see your missing pet poster, they'll notice a reward for a lost pet as well as the other largest words on the flyer, the pet's color and breed.

Step 8

Hang the poster along roads and intersections in the area where your pet disappeared, after you've checked local regulations on sign posting. Put it on light posts or telephone poles as high up as you can reach, using at least four strips of duct tape placed horizontally across the back or insert rows of staples with a staple gun. Check often to ensure your poster remains legible and in place. Once you have your pet back, take down all of your posters.

Step 9

Look for other places where you can put your poster, such as the windows of businesses in the area and community bulletin boards in stores, Laundromats and similar locations. Newspapers often run lost pet listings for free both in the print edition and online, and some will allow you to include a picture of the poster with the ad. Other online resources in the community including Craigslist, classified ads and local event pages, often have listings of lost pets, and you may be able to attach a photo of your missing pet poster to these ads. It can take a while for the person who finds your pet to see the ad, so keep renewing the ads until you find your missing pet.


  • Always check all of the animal shelters in the city where your pet went missing, as well as those in nearby areas. Never simply call in with your pet’s description; always go to the shelter and look at the pets there yourself. Also, even though your pet may have had a collar on when he disappeared, don’t count on anyone who finds your pet calling the number on his tag, because many stray animals slip their collars. Carry on your search as though your pet didn't have a collar or tag and give out your number to shelters and veterinarians in the area, as well as putting it on the missing pet poster.


  • Get your pet microchipped to increase his chances of recovery. Many veterinarians and most animal shelters have scanning equipment for identification of lost pets.

Items You Will Need

  • Recent pet photo
  • Computer
  • Color printer
  • Sturdy paper
  • Plastic sheet protectors
  • Poster board, fluorescent colors
  • Clear tape
  • Stencils
  • Marking pens, permanent type
  • Duct Tape


Photo Credits