Lost and Found

Trade panic for a plan when you lose or find a pet

by Kyra hillenmeyer

One in three pets will go missing at some point during their lives. The stress and anxiety of losing your pet is only compounded when you don’t know the first steps to take.

Lost a pet?

Once you realize your pet is missing, look around your neighborhood and reach out to your neighbors. Bring along a recent picture for reference. Post paper flyers at pet stores, coffee shops and other area businesses and create a virtual “Lost Pet” flyer by posting your animal’s photo and description on neighborhood apps, like Finding Rover, Nextdoor, and websites focused on reuniting lost animals and owners.

Contact San Diego Humane Society, local vets and animal shelters to see if your pet was brought in. SDHS provides lost and found services in Escondido, Imperial Beach, Ocean-side, Poway, San Marcos and Vista.

Also, check sdhumane.org’s found animal database and remember your pet could have been sent to another SDHS campus for a variety of reasons. A missing pet database is also available on the San Diego County Department of Animal Services website at sddac.com.

If you have no luck finding your animal at SDHS or any other shelter, file a Lost Report with them. Include information on the animal’s breed, their description and a photo.

Don’t give up. Keep calling SDHS, other shelters and checking online. It’s possible your pet was brought in after you last checked.


Found a pet?

If you’ve come across a lost pet and can safely take him in, first see if he’s in need of medical care. If so,
immediately take him to the shelter that provides animal services in your area. If the animal appears healthy, note his age range, weight, breed, description and where and when he was found and take pictures.

Check for a collar with tags. If he has none, you can take him to any veterinarian for a free microchip scan.

No luck? Next, search the databases of SDHS and other shelters for lost animals.

Post “Found Pet” flyers around your neighborhood, at local shops and online via pet search websites and neighborhood apps, like Nextdoor. File a Found Report with photos with SDHS and other shelters. Also, check print and online classifieds for lost animals.

If the animal’s owner isn’t found and you’d like to adopt him yourself after the stray holding period is up, your local shelter can help in the process of transferring legal ownership.


Visit San Diego Humane Society’s Lost and Found section.


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