Lost and Found

  • Blog >
  • Lost and Found
RSS Feed

Lost and Found

One of the scariest situations for a pet owner is for one of their beloved furry family members to go missing. Would you know what to do if your pet got lost? We have some tips on lost/found pets as well as recommendations for permanent identification for your pet. This subject hit close to home this year because I have some friends whose dogs got out of their yard one windy day and were running around the neighborhood. One of the dogs was pretty skittish and unfortunately ended up running out into a busy street and got hit by a car before anyone could catch her. Tragically she was killed. Even in this heartbreaking situation, the family was able to have some closure because an animal control officer was able to inform the family that their beloved girl had passed - she had a microchip to identify her and contact the owners.

The first thing to do if you’ve lost a pet is to contact the city/county animal services and shelters as well as local veterinary clinics in your area. If the pet is hurt, many times an animal control officer or the person that found the pet will bring them directly into the closest veterinary clinic.

Washoe County Regional Animal Services – this is the first place a stray animal would be taken if found roaming (by an officer or, in many cases, by someone in the community). They will automatically scan the pet for a microchip and look for other identification such as a collar/ID tags/license or tattoo and try to contact the owner of the pet if possible. If they cannot identify the pet they will hold them for 5 days to allow the owner time to find their pet before processing them to put up for adoption. Animal services takes pictures and keeps records for all animals that are found so owners that are looking for a lost pet can browse online or on-site through this information for all of the animals that have been taken in recently. You can also fill out a lost pet report so that Animal Services has your pet’s description and your contact information in case your pet comes into the shelter and they will keep this info on file for 30 days. There is more info and lost/found pet tips on their website: https://www.washoecounty.us/animal/lost_and_found/lost_tips.php

The next step is for the animal to be transferred to the Nevada Humane Society or to the SPCA for adoption if they are not found by the owner at Washoe County Animal Services. By this time the pet will have been vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed/neutered if needed before adoption.

With any found pet, the first thing we do at SWVH is scan for a microchip. If we don’t find one, we recommend that the person contact Washoe County Animal Services (see above). We will post flyers of lost pets for our clients in case someone in our area happens to find a stray pet. There are several websites and Facebook pages also to help bring lost pets home (e.g Lost and Found Pets of Northern Nevada FB page).

Thousands of dogs and cats are lost each year but many are returned to their families because of microchips so we highly recommend this form of permanent identification. Some estimated national statistics from the ASPCA’s website: https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

Microchips are implanted via injection under the skin between the shoulder blades (like a vaccination would be given) and can be done at a veterinary visit or at local shelters for minimal cost. If you’re not sure if your pet has a microchip you’re welcome to bring them into our hospital for us to scan them. If you know your pet’s microchip number but are not sure when your contact info/registration was updated last you can look it up on the AAHA website: http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/

Of course, all of us wish there were never any missing pets! If you do lose a pet or find someone else beloved friend we hope the tips and information above will be helpful and maybe even save a life.

For more in-depth info on microchips visit the AVMA’s website: https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Microchipping-of-Animals-Backgrounder.aspx

Ask Us About Our Referral Program

Refer a friend and receive $10 in “SWVH Bucks” to use at your next visit!

Office Hours


7:30 AM-5:30 PM


7:30 AM-5:30 PM


7:30 AM-5:30 PM


7:30 AM-5:30 PM


7:30 AM-5:30 PM





Find Us

Check out the map below to locate SWVH!


We love to hear your feedback!

  • "Southwest Vet is a wonderful place to take our animals. The front desk ladies are knowledgeable, patient, and compassionate. The vet techs are so wonderful with our animals. And Drs. Sargent and Rasmussen are just the tops!! The care our animals receive is extraordinary!!"
    Sarah S.
  • "Thank you so much for all that you do. You have always gone above and beyond for my pets and I. I feel truly blessed to have found you when I moved to Reno. Tank thinks you’re pretty awesome, too!"
    Ashley D.
  • "Thank you to each and every one of you who helped care for Gus while he was recovering during his long and scary week with Parvo. We can’t thank you enough for everything you did to get our loving and playful guy home."
    Aaron and Lisa C.
  • "So rare it seems to encounter an entire professional office who are as smart as they are kind. We are so grateful to have you care for Einstein. Thank you for your excellent care, patience and generosity."
    Leah R.

Featured Services

  • 6 Questions to Ask At Your Senior Pet's Next Check Up

    Want to keep your senior pet healthy and happy? Ask these six questions at your pet's next check up. ...

    Read More
  • Why the Controversy About Pet Vaccinations?

    As with anything, pet vaccinations can be too much of a good thing. Similar to parents who are learning more about vaccinations for children, veterinarians and pet owners alike are beginning to question some of the standard wisdom when it comes to protecting pets. There are certain fatal diseases against ...

    Read More
  • Pet Clothes: A Fashion Statement or a Necessity?

    There is nothing cuter than a pet in a colorful sweater, but do our furry friends really need to wear clothing? Although clothing is not a necessity for every pet, some animals benefit from a little extra protection during cold or damp days. Others enjoy wearing festive clothing during holidays or other ...

    Read More
  • Introducing a New Pet to Your Current Ones

    Pet Proofing Your Home Introducing your new pet to your current one is only a single part of the equation relating to taking a new pet home. You also have to make sure your new pet is comfortable in your home, which is a foreign environment to the animal. Like humans, animals can experience high levels ...

    Read More
  • Put Some Teeth Into Your Pet’s Dental Care

    According to the American Animal Hospital Association, nearly two-thirds of pets suffer from dental problems because their owners do not provide dental care for them. Imagine what would happen to your own teeth if they were never brushed or examined by a dentist. The same thing can happen with your pet’s ...

    Read More
  • Managing Pet Allergies in Kids

    Are you concerned that your child's allergies may mean that you will have to give up your pet? Although rehoming a pet may be necessary if allergies are severe, most children can live with pets if you are willing to make a few changes. The Problem About three in 10 people who have allergies are allergic ...

    Read More

Newsletter Sign Up