Lost and Found Pet Guide
We know how devastating it is when a pet goes missing or when you find a lost dog or cat and don’t know what to do next. There are apps and websites that can help. We hope this information will be a one-stop guide about everything that you can do to help find your pet or return a pet to it’s owner.
Lost a pet?
One of the best ways to make sure your pet never goes missing is to microchip all of your pets. A microchip is as small as a grain of rice and is placed under your pet’s skin. The animal doesn’t know it’s there but it stores your contact information that is used to contact you if the pet goes missing and is found. As of April 2015, it is San Antonio’s law to have your pets microchipped. If you move, you must remember to call your microchip company and update your information.
- Search your property thoroughly.
If your pet is lost make sure you look around your house and property. Make sure you look in your garage, and any outdoor sheds or buildings. If the animal is a cat, check your attic, cabinets, box springs, boxes or any other potential hiding place.
- Contact the microchip company.
Is your pet microchipped? You’ll want to contact the microchip company to make sure your information is current and that the chip is activated. This information is also important when making flyers to share with the community. Need to microchip your pet? ADL offers microchipping for your pet at our Free Vaccination and Microchip Events.
- Try to attract your pet.
Leave food, water outside along with your pet’s bed, and a worn article of your clothing. These things may help your pet find it’s way home.
- Post lost flyers.
Make flyers to hang up in your neighborhood and at bus stops. Remember that most people will try to read the flyer from their car, so keep it simple with a photo and use a large font that says LOST DOG or LOST CAT with your contact information. Consider offering a reward. PetFBI Lost & Found can help you make a flyer and they’ll send it out to a network of animal welfare businesses.
- Ask your neighbors.
Go door to door asking if any of your neighbors have seen your pet and alerting them to be on the lookout. It is helpful to have a photo of your pet that you can leave with your neighbors. You can also post on the Nextdoor website and include pictures.
- Check lost & found ads daily.
Check the “Lost & Found” ads daily. Consider placing an announcement in local newspapers. Lost pet ads in the San Antonio Express-News starts at $16.58 for 4 days.
- Visit your local city animal shelter.
Visit the City of San Antonio’s Animal Care Services (ACS) located at 4710 Hwy 151 and all other local animal shelters. Bring your flyers and any other information that helps to identify your pet.
- Don’t give up and keep looking!
It is not unusual for someone to keep a lost pet for a few weeks while they search for the owner and then turn the animal into a local shelter.
Found a pet?
Always use caution when handling or approaching a found animal. Remember, an animal that may initially appear sweet with us may act completely different when trying to be rescued. If the pet is displaying behaviors that could jeopardize your safety, please leave the area and call 311. For your safety and to reduce disease, it is best to keep your pets and a found pet separate while finding their owners.
- Search for owner info.
Look for any owner information or tags. If the number on a tag is from a vet clinic or another facility be sure to have BOTH the tag number and the year on the tag written down before calling.
- Scan the pet for a microchip.
Take the animal to your vet or a local shelter and ask them to scan him for a microchip.
- Found puppies or kittens?
If you’ve found newborn kittens or puppies, please observe them for about 18-24 hours before coming to their rescue. Keep in mind that it’s important to keep them with their mother if possible. Mom may be out searching for food or she may be in the process of moving her babies to a safer location. Mom’s tend to be gone for 2-3 hours at a time. They are fine for now. Try to watch from a safe distance because mom may not want to show you where her babies are located, so she’ll avoid them. Healthy babies can survive this time without food as long as they are in a safe place. If you’ve observed that the mother has abandoned the babies, or if the mother perished in any way, please move and make sure the pets are in a safe area. You can purchase nursing bottles and replacement formula at most local pet stores. If you can, please feed and take care of the babies until they are at the ideal weight for surgeries. Here is a guide for baby kittens and puppies.
- Ask your neighbors.
Go door to door to ask your neighbors if they recognize the pet and alert them to be on the lookout for anyone searching the neighborhood. It’s helpful to have a photo of the animal if the animal isn’t cooperative enough to accompany you.
- Take a photo of the pet.
Take a photo of the pet and post information on websites like lost.petcolove.org, SAPets.com, Craigslist.com, PetFBI Lost & Found, or to apps like Nextdoor.
- Make found flyers.
Make FOUND flyers and remember that most people will try to read the flyer from their car, so keep it very simple with a photo and large readable font that says FOUND DOG or FOUND CAT.
- Place an ad in local newspapers.
Place ads in the local newspapers, very often there is no charge. The San Antonio Express-News will place an ad for 4 days at no cost.