Finding lost pets

Our pets are like family. We travel, play, relax and work with them at our side—and in our laps. Sadly, one in three will get lost. What can U.S. pet owners do to dramatically improve the chances of finding a missing pet? The HomeAgain® Pet Recovery Service has reunited more than two million pets with their families, and the numbers keep growing.

Honey Bee Comes Home
Missing for 17 days, Honey Bee becomes the two millionth pet to be reunited with family, thanks to a pet recovery service. Watch her story.

Microchip Reunites Dog and Owner after Two Years

Animal shelters around the country take in lost pets nearly every day. According to the latest research and data, almost 6.5 million animals enter shelters annually, of which 3.2 million are dogs and 3.3 million are cats. In many cases, the animals have lost their collars or identification tags.

Such was the case with a pit bull mix brought in recently to an animal shelter in Omaha, Nebraska. “We scanned the dog for a microchip and found one, which matched to her owner in New Mexico,” says Pam Wiese, spokesperson for the Nebraska Humane Society. “This sweet dog had been missing for two years. If not for the microchip, she never would have been reunited with her owner.”

How the dog journeyed from New Mexico to Nebraska is a mystery. “If only dogs could talk,” says Wiese. “Unfortunately, this story is far too common.”

Wiese says that along with dogs, a number of lost cats have rejoined their families after being missing for months. “Cats can be standoffish when their owners come into the shelter to claim them. Can you imagine trying to pick out your tabby cat among 25 others? Having the microchip can make a big difference. It’s like the airbag of safety versus the seatbelt of safety you get with a collar or tag.”

Wiese offers a word of caution: Some cats and dogs come into the shelter with a microchip, but the owner has not updated the family’s information in the database. “It’s heartbreaking to find a chip but not be able to trace the pet to its owner.”

The HomeAgain call center manages about 150,000 calls a month from pet owners. “These calls cover pet owners reporting lost pets, others calling with found pets as well as updating contact information or using the HomeAgain pet emergency member benefit,” says Ken Klaus, Director, HomeAgain, Merck Animal Health. “In 2016 alone, the pet recovery service reunited over 240,000 pets with their owners.”

Cats, Dogs and Other Friends

Microchipping is available in the U.S. to any animal that can be implanted with a chip. Pets can be registered in the recovery database, whether they are microchipped or not. For example, the HomeAgain database includes 20,000+ horses and hundreds of small animals like ferrets and rabbits. 

  • Learn about Miga, the kitty that couldn’t find her way home.
  • Read about Little Moe, the Shih Tzu that escaped from his family’s backyard.
  • Meet Poe, the black cat that got lost after falling from a screened window. 
  • See Pomeranian Charlie’s microchip miracle.
  • Learn more at