How to Prevent Your Pets From Getting Lost

Lost and Found Pets – Do you know what to do?

Losing a pet is a heartbreaking experience. Are you aware of the steps you can take to help reunite a lost pet with their owner?

Read on to learn how becoming an informed pet owner can help not just your pets from getting lost, but how you can also help reunite lost pets to their owners.

How do I prevent my dog or cat from getting lost?

Collar ID’s and/or Microchip ID

Ensure your cat or dog has a collar ID with your contact information on them. This helps to ensure that if your pet ever gets lost, they have visible identification! We also recommend getting your pets microchipped. A microchip is like an electronic ID for your pet and once scanned, it will pull up your contact information. Our low-cost clinic offers walk-in microchips and you can learn more HERE. No matter what method you use, it’s important that your contact information on both forms of ID is always up to date!

Secured Fencing

For dog owners in particular whose dog may be outside playing in the yard, one great safety measure is to ensure your fencing is secure and up to date. If you have dogs who like to dig, it’s also a good idea to check the ground around your fencing and fill up any loose soil. Supervised outdoor time is recommended whenever possible so that you know where and what your pet is doing when they are outdoors.


When a cat or dog goes into heat, they are more prone to wanting to roam or go outside to find a mate. Even indoor pets will exhibit this behavior if they haven’t been spayed/neutered. To decrease this risk of roaming, and risk of your pet returning home with an unexpected pregnancy, consider getting your pets spayed/neutered! Book a spay/neuter appointment with our low-cost clinic today at 559-233-8706 or


A bored pet is more likely to be a runaway pet. When your cat or dog isn’t getting enough stimulation to satisfy their curiosity and energy, they may become more active in seeking that stimulation from the outside. Have plenty of toys around your home and engage in active play with your pet to fulfill their need for engagement.


Sometimes however, even after doing all the things you can, your pet might still get lost. Life happens and sometimes our pets behave unexpectedly or we weren’t prepared. Continue reading to learn what to do if you lost your pet or if you found someone’s pet!


I lost my pet. What do I do?

Contact your local animal shelters or animal control agency.

If you can, visit shelters/animal control local to you daily to see if your pet has been rescued or turned in. It’s also a good idea to contact your local shelters and rescues to see if they have any lost/found listings you can post images of your lost pet to. Valley Animal Center has a courtesy listing for lost/found animals HERE.

Post your lost pet images to social media or to local online groups dedicated to finding lost animals.

In the Fresno, CA area, there are a few social groups that are dedicated to reuniting lost animals to their owners. Some of them include Fresno Humane Lost/Found Pets, Tower Pets: Lost and Found, and others. Social media has increasingly become a way to advertise lost/found pets.

You can also go the traditional route and post physical flyers at your local pet stores or shelters, or pass them around your neighborhood. It’s good to include information about your pet and when they were last seen. Don’t forget to include how someone can contact you should they find your pet!

Search the neighborhood.

Your pet may not have strayed too far from home. Perhaps they got stuck somewhere, or there’s even the possibility a neighbor has rescued your lost pet. Walk around your neighborhood and call out your pet’s name. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your neighbors as well.

Don’t give up.

There have been pets who have been reunited after months of being lost. Although it can seem hopeless, stay persistent and consistent with your pet search. You never know when you’ll be contacted! It’s also important to know that strangers who may have found your pet may be working just as hard as you to reunite your lost pet. Don’t give up!

Be wary of pet-recovery scams!

If someone says they have your pet, you want to make sure it’s not a scam! Although it’s sad to think about, there are scammers who prey on emotionally distraught pet owners. Ask for pictures, and even videos of your pet and if someone is asking for a monetary reward, avoid sending money over until you are sure they truly do have your pet.

I found a lost pet. Now what?

Read the lost pet’s body language.

Are they relaxed, or are they growling at you? Are they signaling to you it’s safe to approach? Approach the lost animal slowly and with care. Continue to asses their response to you as you get closer to them. You can also use treats to coax the lost pet.

If you cannot approach the lost pet safely, stop! Lost pets may be scared and in a heightened state of awareness. Although you might want to help them, they may not understand your good intentions. Your safety is also important, so call your local animal control or rescue if you cannot safely approach the lost pet.

Take pictures of the lost pet.

Whether you bring the lost pet temporarily home with you, or you call local animal control, take photos of the lost pet! You can post about the lost pet to lost/found social media groups. Also keep an eye out to see if any owners come forward about their lost pets. It’s important that you are just as proactive in finding the lost pet’s owner!

Does the lost pet have a collar ID?

If you were able to safely approach the lost pet, check first to see if the lost pet has a collar with an ID tag. If the tag has a contact number on it, make sure to call the owners and let them know you have their pet in safe custody.

*Note: If you bring the lost pet home, it is a good idea to quarantine the pet or have it separated from any current pets you may already own. This is for the safety of your own pets in case the lost pet is not up to date on vaccines.

The lost pet doesn’t have a collar ID.

If the lost pet doesn’t have a collar ID with a contact number, you can take the lost pet to a vet clinic or an animal shelter and have the pet scanned for a microchip. The microchip, if updated, should have the owner’s contact information. If there is no microchip, or if the information is not up to date, you can find a local animal shelter that takes in lost/found pets, or you may continue to care for the lost pet as you look for the owners.


Prevention is always the best measure to keep your dogs and cats, and pets in general, safe and secure. If you have any advice you’d like to share, comment below!

Valley Animal Center is dedicated to serving animal companions in the Central Valley and beyond. Our mission is to unite dogs and cats with loving people. We believe every animal deserves a loving family and furever home. Donate to support our endless mission as we care for hundreds of homeless dogs and cats throughout the year.

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