GUNILLA Denton-Cook knows the feeling of dread that hits owners when their beloved pet goes missing.
Her 11-year-old Australian silky terrier cross Clyde ran away after fireworks frightened him in mid-December.
She has spent three weeks scouring the neighbourhood, posting 'lost' flyers and calling local vets and shelters to try and find him.
And she's not alone.
Many pets run away during the holidays when they hear fireworks or their owners go away.
"We just panicked," Mrs Denton-Cook said when she realised Clyde had run away.
She says not everyone is aware of what to do in the situation, and there's a misconception pet owners should call the RSPCA, who rescue abused animals.
Pet owners should first call local veterinarians, council pound and shelter to see if their pet has been taken there.
Animals found in The Hills are taken to a shelter in the Hawkesbury, while animals in Blacktown are taken to the council's animal holding facility.
The owners of microchipped pets will be contacted and held at the shelter for 14 days.
Pets without a microchip will be held for seven days with animals rehomed or euthanased after that period.
Residents who find an animal are required by law to report it to the council.
■ Animals in Blacktown are taken to the council's animal holding facility, 415 Flushcombe Road, Prospect, 9839 6161.
If you find a stray or missing animal contact 9839 6161.
■ Lost animals in The Hills are taken to the Hawkesbury Companion Animal Shelter, Mulgrave Road, Mulgrave, 4560 4644.
If you find a stray or missing animal contact the council on 9843 0557 and a ranger will collect it.