First things first, THANK YOU for helping a lost pet find their family! We appreciate what you’re doing and are here to help you reunite this lost pet with their loved ones. Pets who have been lost for a while may not look their best, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a loving and caring family missing them desperately!
Here's Our Top 10 Tips to Help Good People (like you!) Reunite Lost Pets with their Families:
1. Does the pet have any visible ID tag(s)? If so, call the number (even if it’s just a Rabies tag), or scan the tag with your phone’s camera (if it has a QR code), to retrieve the pet parent’s contact info or next steps on how to get the pet home.
2. Have you had the pet scanned for a microchip? (if not, you may do this at any veterinary clinic or animal shelter). Also, any PetSmart that has a Banfield hospital (and it is within the hospital’s operating hours), can scan the pet for a chip.
Always get the chip number from the facility that scanned and detected the chip. Having the chip number will be very helpful when submitting a found report (see #5).
Fun Fact: Studies show that a registered microchip reunites more pets with their families than any other reunification tool or platform. Don't skip this very important step!
3. If a microchip was detected, is the chip registered? Enter the chip number at PetMicrochipLookup.org (if the veterinary clinic or animal shelter didn’t take this step for you already) and you’ll see which National microchip registry(s) to contact.
Pro Tip: Microchips can be registered in multiple registries...yes, the plot thickens! When you go to PetMicrochipLookup.org and enter the chip number, they search 36 different registries for you at once (so cool), and show if the chip is registered with any of those registries. The top result (and sometimes the only result) will be the most recently updated registration, so start there!
IF the microchip search (on PetMicrochipLookup.org) yields no results, it’s imperative to check the Avid Registry. Unfortunately they do not participate in the PetMicrochipLookup.org service, so if a pet is registered with them, you won’t know unless you contact them directly). Avid’s number is 1-800-336-2843.
4. Post the pet you found on Nextdoor AND all other social media outlets of course, but we find Nextdoor and Facebook specifically can be very helpful. Facebook will typically have local Lost/Found Groups for you to post in as well. Be sure to upload a good photo of the pet, where they were found, when they were found, and the best way to contact you!
Fun Fact: After microchips, studies show Nextdoor (when available and active in a community) is typically the second most effective way to reunite a pet with their family.
5. Report the pet as found to your local open admission animal shelter (your city or county shelter, or the contracted shelter that intakes found and stray pets in your community). Submitting a Found Report can usually be done online, however, you may have to physically go to the shelter depending on your local shelter's policies.
Shelters also receive Lost Pet Reports, so they will be able to see if the pet’s family has reported them as lost. Many shelters will list Lost Pets on their website, so you can check as well!
Fun Fact: Some shelters will allow you to keep the pet in your home (if you can) while they help look for the pet’s family. If you're willing and able to do so, temporarily housing the pet in your home is best; most pets are found within a few miles of their home, so keeping the pet in the same area increases the chances of reunification.
6. If you’ve found a lost dog, walk them around the neighborhood/area where you found them.
Pro Tip: Walk around and canvass the neighborhood or area where you found the pet! Studies show, this is the third most effective way to reunite a pet with its family. Be sure to ask neighbors and package deliver/postal carriers as they can be very helpful!
7. Put up Found Pet Posters (the bigger the better), with a photo of the pet, your phone number, where they were found, and the date they were found.
8. Don’t forget to look for Lost Pet Flyers in the neighborhood or area you found the pet especially!
9. Start a free Found Pet Alert on PawBoost.
10. Last but not least (and if they're comfortable with attention/affection), give that precious pet lots of snuggles, hugs and belly rubs (well, maybe skip that last one with our feline friends). They may be feeling pretty anxious and scared being away from their home and loved ones.
For even more tips, click here!