Lost and Found Pet Tips


Pets get out all the time, but what we do next can either get them back to their family safely, or put them in danger. If you find a pet, there are simple steps you can follow BEFORE taking them to a shelter. We know by taking them to the shelter, you’re trying to do the right thing, but shelters across the country are extremely full and working to find a pet’s family yourself is supporting the shelter, just as much as adopting is! 

Whether you’ve found a pet or lost a pet many of the steps are similar:

  1. Post a photo and description of the animal on Nextdoor.com, a local Facebook group, Pawboost.com, LostMyKitty.comLostMyDoggie.com, and/or Petco LoveLost to name a few.
  2. Post simple, clear flyers in the neighborhood that include contact information. Many people don’t access social media sites regularly.
  3. Contact the Animal Control office for your city. They may have a lost or found report on file. They will be able to confirm what animal shelter is currently serving the city you live in.
  4. File a found or lost pet report with the animal shelter that serves your community.


Found Pets should be taken to a local Animal Hospital to be scanned for a microchip. If your Lost Pet has a microchip contact the company directly and let them know your pet is lost.

Other helpful links:

Los Angeles Animal Services

Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control

How to Find a Lost Cat

Lost Pet Search Tips

If you’ve lost a pet, visit your nearest shelter and search the sites that people post found pets on which are listed above. Check with veterinarians in the area your pet was lost to see if any injured animals have been turned in. Most importantly, don’t give up. Sometimes scared animals hide and it takes them a while to let anyone see them. Ask neighbors to check their garages or storage sheds. Keep checking the shelters daily and be sure to check the hospital ward and isolation areas in addition to the regular kennel areas.

Search your neighborhood:

  • Go door-to-door where your pet was last seen, talk to people.
  • Carry a written description or flyer of your pet with your phone number to leave with residents or on the door.
  • Bring a powerful flashlight even during the day. You will be looking in dark spaces such as garages, trash bins and crawl spaces. If injured, your dog or cat is likely to hide in a dark space and may be too frightened to respond to your voice.
  • Frequently call to your pet. Stop often and listen for a reply or other animal noises.
  • Bring your pet’s favorite squeaky toy and use it. Take a box of your pet’s favorite treats and rattle it loudly while calling to them.

Your pet’s sense of smell can help him find his way. Outside your home, place familiar, strongly-scented items such as:

  • A pair of your old gym socks or shirt.
  • Your pet’s bedding and/or favorite toys.

Common hiding places in a house or yard include:

  • Big appliances (in or behind)
  • Crawl spaces
  • Boxes and large containers
  • Cabinets (including file cabinets) or closets
  • Drain pipes and gutters
  • Drawers, shelves, bookcases
  • Roof
  • Sheds and barns
  • Trees and bushes
  • Vehicles (including inside the engine for cats)

Keep in mind that in order to redeem your pet from a shelter, you must present proof of ownership. Proof may include photos, vaccination records, or adoption certificates, among other things. You also must present a valid form of government-issued photo identification (i.e. drivers license). The same should be considered for turning over a found pet to someone claiming to be their “owner”.