Lost Pet Plan

As a pet parent, one of the most frightening moments you may experience is when you realize your pet is lost.

The panic that follows this realization can make it hard to think clearly about what you should do next. So we’ve gathered a list of helpful, immediate actions you can take to ensure you have the best possible chance of being reunited with your beloved pet.


Finding Rover app

If the pet you lost is a dog, download this free app immediately. Finding Rover is a facial recognition app that reunites lost dogs with their owners. Photos of dogs that are found or admitted to participating shelters are stored in the app’s database. Every time a pet parent posts a photo of a dog they’ve lost, Finding Rover scans its database and provides possible matches and necessary contact information within seconds.


Check with local animal shelters

Local shelters like San Diego Humane Society and Department of Animal Services have an online form to fill out if you’ve lost a pet. This enables the shelter to check its current and future animal inventory specifically for the pet you’ve lost.


Post flyers

Posting hardcopy and online (i.e. Craigslist or The Center for Lost Pets) flyers is a great way to get a visual of your lost pet out in the local area where he or she has likely wandered into. Be sure to include a large, updated photo of your dog on the flyer along with two forms of contact information for reaching you. Since stray animals are often brought to local veterinary offices for a microchip scan or medical care, posting flyers there as well is a good idea.

While you’re out and about posting, keep an eye out for flyers of “found” animals. One of them may be your pet!


Alert your neighbors

Let your neighbors know your pet is missing. If they aren’t familiar with what your pet looks like, show them a picture or give them one of the flyers you created. It helps to have extra sets of eyes out in the community to look for your pet.


Walk the perimeter

Sometimes, pets can flee their homes out of fear to look for a safe place to hide. Other times, curiosity or reproductive drive can cause a pet to wander around the community.

Regardless of why you believe your pet may have left home, walk the perimeter of your neighborhood to conduct a visual search for your animal. Be sure to check tucked away places where an animal may feel safe, such as crawl spaces, behind dumpsters or underneath cars. Lost animals may also respond to familiar sounds like your voice. So while you search, periodically call out their name and jingle their favorite toy or leash.


The good news is, with today’s technology, there’s a good chance your lost pet will be returned to you. You can optimize these chances by making sure your pet is microchipped with your up-to-date contact information.


Resource Links

  1. San Diego Humane Society: Lost and Found
  2. San Diego Department of Animal Service: Lost and Found
  3. Humane Society of the United States: Lost and Found
  4. Finding Rover and Finding Rover’s Blog
  5. Low cost Microchipping
  6. Alert people on Facebook using Paw Boost