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Limitations in exporting to Petfinder

There are a few limitations to what the Petfinder FTP allows us to upload. Most notably:

  1. Videos and Video URLs will not add to your pets when you use the FTP upload. There will be no videos associated with your pets.
  2. Petfinder does not allow any HTML in the animal descriptions. Any HTML will be removed from the pet descriptions.
  3. Pet-specific locations will not be set. All pets will inherit the default account location.
  4. Only pets with a sex selected will be imported. Pets without a sex selected will be ignored by the Petfinder import.
  5. The Petfinder import currently only provides the ability to upload three pictures per pet.

Directly from the Petfinder documentation: There are some fields available in the Petfinder admin area that import does not yet support. To name a few: Arrival Date, Primary Color, Secondary Color, Coat Length, Birth Date, Animal Location, Animal Location Notes, Contact Person, Video, Primary Photo.

To voice your thoughts and comments concerning the above limitations imposed by Petfinder please contact them directly: and is not responsible for these limitations and can do nothing about them other than to ask you to encourage Petfinder to make the necessary enhancements.

Setup your Petfinder Export

To set up your export to Petfinder and then import into their system:

  1. Send an email from an email address on your Petfinder account to and include the following information:
    1. Your Petfinder shelter ID
    2. A request that Petfinder configures your account for import from
    3. A statement that you understand that your Petfinder pet list will be replaced with your pets from your account
  2. When you receive a response from Petfinder help it will include your FTP account username and password.  Forward that email to support
  3. When we receive the FTP account information that you forward, we will configure your export to Petfinder. We will then contact you by email to let you know the export has been configured. This email will share instructions on how to enable the export within your account.

    Here is a sample email you can send to Petfinder.  Be sure to update the shelter ID to your actual account.  Please note that Petfinder will delete all pets from your account in preparation for the import from

Please set up an FTP account for my account XX1234 and import from  If my organization already has an FTP account with Petfinder, please provide the password so I can forward it to  Please remove all existing pets from our account in preparation for the upload from

For enabled Petfinder exports, our system uploads data to Petfinder within an hour of a change made to animals in your account.

Petfinder processes uploads as quickly as they can, but be aware that it may take significant time to see the uploaded data in your Petfinder account. Petfinder may take up to 24 hours to update animal listings and up to 36 hours to add new pictures. If your Petfinder account is taking longer than these time estimates, contact our support team. We can speak to Petfinder on your behalf to ensure that your export is configured correctly.  

Unexpected exports by Petfinder

Petfinder sends your pets to an undocumented number of websites, including classified websites like eBay and Kijij. does not have any control over those uploads from Petfinder.

To check to see if your pets are being sent to that unknown list of websites, do the following:

  1. Log in to your Petfinder account.
  2. Click on the Organization Info tab.
  3. At the bottom, you will see check boxes for Partner sites and Petfinder API Users.

We believe that eBay and Kijiji are in the "Partner sites" category.

Please remember that tells you who has access to your public information.  You can control your exports from the Animals > Exports page, but we are not responsible for any additional sharing, or how that sharing is managed.

Common troubleshooting steps

  1. Check the Petfinder "help" web page for outages and known issues that Petfinder is reporting.  The most common issues that have been reported to us include:

    1. "Pictures not updating."  If Petfinder reports that pictures are not updating, you should not expect them to appear on the public pet list.  This affects your pets regardless of whether you are using to update your Petfinder pet list.  See the troubleshooting pictures item below for additional information.
    2. "Pets not updating.  Search is out of sync, no updates."  You may or may not see your pets on the public pet list when Petfinder is reporting an issue related to "pets not updating."
  2. Check the Petfinder Pro page.  Do your pets and pictures appear there?  If so, the upload from ran correctly, but the Petfinder system has not updated their "public" pet list.
  3.  Outdated or duplicate pet entries on Petfinder may be caused by editing an uploaded animal through your Petfinder account. If you edit animals directly through your Petfinder account, the animal listing may no longer be recognized as part of the upload and therefore, the animal will not be updated. If the animal is still available in, there may have been a new listing created in Petfinder, so it will appear as a duplicate listing. We recommend that you manually remove the edited animal from your Petfinder admin account to remove the outdated or duplicate entry. 
  4. If your Petfinder Pet List is not in sync and new animals are not being added:
    1. Verify that your Petfinder export is still enabled in by going to Animals > Exports.
    2. Verify that your Petfinder Automatic Pet Importing setting is still set to ON. If your Petfinder account is no longer set to Automatic Pet Import, we recommend that you reconfigure your Petfinder account to again allow uploads from You may also want to bulk delete your Petfinder animal list as it may be out of date. If your export is still enabled, a bulk delete will soon be repopulated with clean data when next performs an automatic upload. You can perform a bulk delete from your animal admin page in your Petfinder account by clicking Select All and then updating the status to Deleted.

Common issues you may experience when trying to update your Petfinder pet list

  1. Pets on Petfinder have not been updated or added:
    1. Check the Petfinder "help" page to see if they are reporting any known issues, like pet lists not being updated, slow logins, denied logins, or pictures not being updated.
    2. Make sure the pet(s) have the Petfinder account selected under Export Accounts.
  2. Pictures are missing on specific pets or are in the incorrect order:
    1. Petfinder does not provide the ability to change a pet's picture once one has been added.  So, if your pet has 2 pictures already, they will never change.  You can add a third picture, but the previously added pictures will never change.
    2. The easiest way to get a pet's pictures to update is to delete that pet from your Petfinder admin pet list.  The next time your data is uploaded from a new copy of that pet will be added, and the current pictures should be added by Petfinder.

Requesting help

If you have worked through all of the recommendations and troubleshooting steps reported above and have not been able to resolve your issue, request our help.

If you open a support ticket with us

If you open a support ticket with us concerning animals that are missing, or animals that have not yet been taken off of the Petfinder list, we will ask you to do the following:

  1. Login to your Petfinder admin pet list.  Are the pets correct there?  If so, we will ask you to exercise patience.  We'll also ask you to check the Petfinder "help" page to see if Petfinder is experiencing any issues that would prevent the public pet list from updating in a timely manner.
  2. Send us specific examples of pets that are missing from your admin pet list, have not been removed from your admin pet list, or have missing pictures.

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