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What to do When You've Found a Lost Pet

Updated on March 24, 2019
Teddy O Malley profile image

Teddy O'Malley is a lost pet advocate who founded Lost Pets of Poplar Bluff and hopes to bring as many lost pets home as possible.

1. Get the Pet to a Safe Place

You've found a dog on the street or a cat in the rain. The first thing you should do is try to get the animal to a safe area. If you can house the animal in your home or yard, then bring the animal inside. If you can't, the next best thing to do is contact a rescue who can.


Check to see if the pet has identification on their collar.

2. Check Pet for Information About Their Identity

Check the pet for a collar and tags. The pet might have a name tag. If the pet has a rabies tag, this can often be used by a local vet to identify the animal. If you find a phone number on the pet's tag, call it and see if anyone picks up.

Don't Give Away a Found Pet

It can be against rules and sometimes the law to give away a found pet. You must give the owner time to come forward and claim their pet.

3. Search Your Local Lost and Found Pet Pages

Chances are good that the person who lost their pet is looking for the animal. Try to search as many local lost/found pages as you can to see if you can find a picture of the animal. Then contact the owner to get in touch.

Some places that you might search could include the local newspaper, Facebook, and any lost pet sites where the pet might have been posted such as Pawboost, FidoFinder, and


Check with local vets and groomers!

4. Check With Local Vets and Groomers

Check with your local vets and groomers to see if anyone has brought in a flyer with information about the pet you found. While you are the vet, you can also get the pet checked for a chip. This is usually a free service.


5. Check With Local Rescue Groups to See if They Can Help

Sometimes local rescue groups can help you get the word out about a found pet. They may also be willing to foster the pet if you are unable to keep the pet at your place.

6. Consider Giving The Pet to A Rescue

If you've searched and searched and no one has come forward, consider letting a rescue know about their situation. See if they can foster the pet until either the owner comes forward or enough time has lapsed that it is okay to re-home the pet.


7. Request Proof of Ownership

Don't feel bad about requesting photos or other proof that the person claiming the pet is the true owner. Not everyone has good intentions. The owner might have photos on their phone or Facebook account, or they might have some type of record.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2019 Teddy O'Malley


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