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San Diego Humane Society

How to Find Your Lost Pet


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: View Our Lost Pet Guide.

Who to Contact

We suggest you start by contacting the animal service provider that provides lost and found animal services to the area your pet was last seen. Use this comprehensive list of animal service provider jurisdictions to determine who to contact first: View Animal Service Jurisdictions.

San Diego Humane Society

Phone: 619-299-7012 and press Option #2

Outside San Diego Humane Society's Jurisdiction

Review this page for a list of other organizations that provide lost and found services in San Diego county. 

Next Steps:

Create and Distribute a Lost Pet Flyer

Posting hardcopy and online 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 (preferably phone and email). 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!

Create a Lost Pet Flyer

Once you have created your “Lost Pet” flyer, post it widely including at:

  • Local veterinarian hospitals or clinics
  • Pet stores
  • Coffee shops
  • Regional lost and found Facebook pages, Nextdoor and Craigslist under the lost/found community page. See above for a helpful list!
  • Local newspapers

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.

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