What to Do When Your Pet Is Missing

Losing a pet can be a traumatic experience. The Humane Society offers tips on reuniting with a lost pet.

I lost my dog Blue once.

Just days after I adopted him, he got out of the yard and took a little walk to explore the neighborhood. He didn’t get far, and he was probably gone for a grand total of five minutes, but it was a terrifying five minutes that felt like an eternity.

Unfortunately, this scenario plays out every day – but not everyone is so lucky to find their pet right away like I did. Here at the Escondido Humane Society, we see several lost pets come through our doors daily, and we often hear people tell us that they didn’t know to look for their pet at the shelter.

To ensure that all of my fellow pet parents know what to do if they lose their furry family member, I thought I would offer some insights into the role Animal Control plays in our community and offer tips on what to do if your pet gets lost.

Animal Control facilities in San Diego County: The Escondido Humane Society is contracted to provide Animal Control services for the cities of Poway, Escondido and San Marcos, meaning if you lose your animal within those jurisdictions it may end up at our shelter. Some Poway residents are surprised to hear that we are their Animal Control provider, but be assured that we are here for you if you lose your pet.

The San Diego Humane Society provides Animal Control services for the cities of Oceanside and Vista; the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services provides Animal Control services for the unincorporated areas of San Diego County and the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee and Solana Beach.

What should I do if I lost my pet? If you have lost your pet, the first step is to visit your local animal control agency (see above). All lost/found pets are listed on our websites for you to view, but we still strongly encourage you to visit us in person. If you have a picture of your pet, please bring it with you. All agencies are different, but here at the Escondido Humane Society we will escort you through our stray kennels to see if your pet is here. We will file a lost report with your pet’s information, and you also can look through our found reports. We allow pet parents to post “missing” posters in our lobby, so it’s a good idea to bring one with you. Don’t give up! Keep checking back with the shelter, as some people who find pets hold on to them for a few days in hopes of finding you.

What else can I do? Post “lost” notices in the neighborhood where you lost your pet, and watch out for “found” posters. You also could place an ad in the local newspaper to report your pet as “lost” and keep an eye out for “found” ads.

Preventive measures: I can’t say it enough: Make sure your pet is microchipped! It may not prevent your pet from getting lost, but it will ensure a quick reunion. Also have proper identification on your pet at all times.

mark brooklyn September 10, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Daniela Caride September 10, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Thank you for this enlightening article, Katie. Being prepared is the best anyone can do. Taildom.com has an Emergency tool that helps pet owners build their Pet Emergency Plans and helps them act when a crisis strikes. I totally recommend it.
Daniela Caride September 14, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Yes, Mark, Pet Amber Alert seems to be a good tool, but it work AFTER your pet is missing. Taildom.com will help you not only find your pet, but also with other emergencies, such as home evacuation. http://Taildom.com
Michel Devost February 24, 2013 at 01:02 PM
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