Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

New Technologies, local and national databases help reunite lost dogs and their owners

By Dawn Celapino
November 29, 2011 (San Diego’s East County)--Have you ever experienced any doggy parent’s worst nightmare--losing your dog? Have you ever found a dog and didn't know what to do? 


This is the time of year where many people go away and leave their dogs with neighbors, dog walkers or friends. If your dog is not comfortable, he may slip out of his collar and run off. This happened to a friend; the dog ran off and was never found. This past weekend, a dog was found by the staff at UCSD and the dog didn’t have any tags nor was it microchipped. 

Here are a few things to do if you lost or found a dog:
Make sure your dog is chipped and the information is current. VERY IMPORTANT as this is the first thing that should be done if you find a dog. Take ito a nearby vet or the Humane Society and get him/her scanned.
Does your dog wear a tag and license?  Put your name and cell phone number on the tag. I have mixed feelings about putting your dog’s name on there as you don't want whoever finds your dog to keep him/her. I have "Needs Meds" on Jack's tag as most people would be more likely to return a "sick" dog. If you have the license with the tag, they can run the license on the county website and your information will populate.
After the scanning, most people will call their local County Animal Services Dept to see if their dog has been turned in. The dog is then put in the County database along with a picture.  If you find a dog, you can take it there and after three days if nobody claims it then you get the first right to keep the dog. You will have to pay the adoption fee.
Craigslist: Many people post the lost dog on Craigslist “Lost and Found” section for free.  Make sure you put a good description and any pertinent information. A picture also helps.
Flyers:  Post flyers EVERYWHERE in the vicinity where the dog was lost or found.  Make sure to put very large across the top, “LOST DOG” so people can see it from their cars. Put a picture, dog’s information, and your contact information on the flyer. Take flyers to local vets, pet stores, dog parks, Starbucks and many other businesses that have boards where you can hang flyers.  Post on street corners where walkers stopping to cross can see it as well as cars stopped at the light.
Other sites to post your lost dog:
  How it works: For a fee, they enter the exact address of where your pet was last seen into their mapping system, serving as the center point of the search area, which then pulls the data of phone numbers in a radius starting from the center point.  It sends out thousands of calls to numbers with a "Toto alert".
How it works: Put in your zip code and all of the pets that are lost or found are listed.
How it works: A free listing can be entered into their system whether the dog is lost or found.  They are linked to all of the County Animal Shelters; therefore, if your dog is at any of them, the information will come up.

Facebook: Scared and Lost Dog San Diego
:  How it works:  Post your dog's information on the page, another resource for those searching in San Diego.  Check to see if there is a Facebook resource page in your area.
Tips to keep your dog safe:
  • If you are going to be going on vacation, you may want to leave a harness with the dog walker. Most dogs have less ability to slip out of a harness than a collar.
  • Train your dog to sit by the house or car door when it is open and wait. Only allow Fido to move when the command is given.  This will keep your dog from bolting and getting hit by a car and/or running away.
  • Make sure you have all tags, chips and licenses up to date.  
There is nothing worse than losing your pet, but keep looking because we have seen pets reunited with their families even after many months on the road. If you want to watch a cute movie about a lost dog, check out First Dog on video.

Dawn Celapino is the owner of Leash Your Fitness, a workout class for you and your dog in San Diego.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.