Helping lost pets get home - a message from Pethealth, Inc.

Lost dog on train tracksWhile our goal in the animal welfare industry is to find pets their forever home, part of that involves reuniting lost pets with their families. Early 2020, Pethealth and PetCo Foundation conducted a study of 1400 shelters in North America to learn more about the number of pets being reunited the previous year.

Here are some highlights:

  • Only 37% of dogs were returned to their owners. 62% of them had a microchip.
  • The length of stay for dogs with chips is half as long than those without.
  • Sadly, only 8% of cats were reunited with their owner but 33% of them were due to a chip.

There were several common practices among the groups that saw the most reunites, such as microchipping on intake or providing a free microchip. There were also a few innovative ideas like driving pets home by a shelter volunteer or officer, waiving RTO fees, and using apps like Nextdoor to put the word out.

Ultimately, the best plan is always a proactive plan and the best scenario would be for lost pets to make it home without ever having to step foot in the shelter. El Paso Animal Services, recipient of the Diane & Bob Hoover Annual Innovation Award 2020, created a centralized location for pet parents to report and find their pets through an interactive map. The result:  a decrease in intake by 4.6% in one year! Learn more here

If you’d like to view the entire RTO study presentation by Pethealth Inc.’s Michelle Cole and Petco Foundation’s Susan Kogut, reach out to, Guinn Friedman [email protected].


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