About one in five pets goes missing after being frightened by loud noises, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, according to a recent survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
While 93 percent of lost dogs and 75 percent of lost cats are safely returned to their homes, the ASPCA hopes its new app will increase these numbers.
The ASPCA mobile app provides users with step-by-step instructions to recover a lost pet in a variety of scenarios, and the app creates a customized search plan based on the animal's behavior.
"What's so unique about the app — and how it will help pet owners — is that instead of simply adding photos of their lost pets to a database where it might easily get lost in a sea of other lost pet photos, the ASPCA app gives pet owners an individual search plan with customized action steps based on their pet's unique personality and the circumstances of how they were lost," an ASPCA spokeswoman told ABC News.
By inputting information about their pets' personalities and how they interact with strangers, the app can offer suggestions that could lead to recovering the lost animal faster.
"When lost, a shy dog may behave very differently from a bolder, friendlier dog," said Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of shelter research and development for the ASPCA.
"A gregarious cat may be found in a completely different location than an independent cat. Searching for your missing pet the right way is vital, and could make the difference between reuniting with your beloved pet and never seeing them again."
In addition to personalized search plans, the ASPCA app offers preventive safety tips to care for cats and dogs before and during natural disasters.
Users can also upload their pets' photos and medical records so they can create digital lost-pet fliers that can be shared on social media sites."
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