Humane Society Silicon Valley | Pet Recovery Tips
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Lose or find a pet? Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) is well-versed in finding lost pets. In addition to a range of recovery tips, we also offer lost and found services.

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  • DON’T WAIT - Begin your search right away by looking for your pet in your neighborhood. Ask neighbors if you can search their yard, garage and any place your pet may be hiding on their property.
  • PUT UP POSTERS - Post in areas with high foot traffic rather than busy intersections, people are more likely to read signs walking than in their cars. Use neon colored poster paper and write important information like your contact details and animal’s description in large print.
  • HAND OUT FLIERS to neighbors and post in local hang-outs (coffee shops, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.).
  • TAKE A LOST TOUR EACH DAY at your local animal shelters. While most shelters post information online, animals often look different when they are scared and you may not recognize your pet’s photo. Most California shelters only have a 3-day holding period for animals without identification, always check both the stray and adoption areas when taking a tour. Shelters can also transfer animals after their stray holding period to rescue groups, search Petfinder to see if your pet may be up for adoption.
  • If your animal has a microchip, CALL THE MICROCHIP COMPANY to report your pet missing. Also, confirm that your information is current and that you are able to receive voice mails. If you have a microchip number but are unsure which company your pet's microchip is registered too, you can use to check.
  • RENT A HUMANE TRAP - If your pet is frightened and you are unable to catch him, setting a humane trap with yummy bait may help you recover him. Humane traps are available to rent from Humane Society Silicon Valley's (HSSV) Medical Center.
  • CHECK ONLINE at for found ads and post your missing classified ad. Use social media and post to Facebook or Twitter to get the word out. Next Door is also a great resource for connecting with your neighbors who may have seen your animal
  • TAG YOUR CAR - Use window markers to write your lost pet’s information on your car window. This will broadcast your pet while you’re driving around the area.
  • HIRE A PET DETECTIVE – Find a pet detective in your area with
  • DON'T GIVE UP - When you are starting to feel low get some inspirations from these stories of families reunited.


Think Like Your Pet

Dogs and cats behave different when panicked and lost. Cats tend to stay close to home and remain silent, you want to focus your search in places your cat could hide. Get out the flash light and prepare to be crawling around on your belly looking for you cat. Dogs can travel, mass marketing your missing dog increases the chances someone who saw your dog will know to contact you. People often report loose dogs more than cats as they assume a dog without a person is lost.

Your pet's personality will also play a big role in recovery. Cats allowed outdoor access behave differently than cats who have only lived inside or go missing in a place they are unfamiliar with. The way your dog interacts with strangers influences how quickly they are reported to animal control, picked up by a stranger, or even self-adopted (he followed me home, can I keep him?)

Check out these pet recovery tips from Missing Pet Partnership for more information on missing animal behavior.

Lost Cat Behavior
Lost Dog Behavior
Lost Bird, Ferret, Reptile Behavior