A family vacation goes awry when Chance escapes from his carrier during a trip through the airport, believing that he's being sent back to the pound. Shadow and Sassy help Chance escape and the three find themselves lost in San Francisco—with home on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. On their journey home, they befriend a pack of strays led by Riley, and Chance falls in love with stray named Delilah. Complicating their quest are a duo of mean dogs, and a couple of dognappers in their "Blood Red Van" who are looking for strays to sell for animal testing.
This movie contains examples of the following tropes:
- Abandoned Pet in a Box: Riley's backstory. The boy he was bought as a present for didn't want him, so the parents left Riley in the gutter. Unlike many examples, Riley is not adopted by a kind passerby; he becomes a street dog with a deep distrust of humans.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Bando is convinced that Delilah is his girlfriend, a sentiment she clearly doesn't return and that the rest of the gang knows is not the case. Doesn't stop him however from becoming rather possessive of her when she falls for Chance.
- Adult Fear: A couple watches their house burn while their young son is inside. Shadow saves him, but it was a close thing.
- And That's Terrible: "They take you to a place called the lab. And that sounds bad."
- Badass Adorable: The younger dog in Riley's gang.
- Bedmate Reveal: Parodied when Sassy wakes up next to the flea-ridden dog Stokey.Sassy: Aah! You're the ugliest thing I've ever seen!Stokey: Yeah, well, that's not what you said last night!
- Big Damn Heroes: Chance gets one near the end.
- Captain Obvious:Pete: Let go, that hurts!
Chance: (still grabbing his tail) You got that right, Einstein.
- Chekhov's Gun: Just like in the first movie, Chance pulls a prank on Sassy at the beginning of the movie (this time by trapping her in a play-cylinder and pushing it into garbage cans) before rushing off to Jamie's baseball game (and unintentionally ruining it). Chance later does something very similar near the end, this time against Ashcan and Pete to defeat them for good, and at a construction site.
- Deadpan Snarker: Chance and Sassy frequently try to out-quip each other.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Riley is a downplayed example, helping the trio in spite of his hatred towards humans and his disdain for those animals who insist on remaining loyal to them. After seeing Shadow and Sassy rescue a boy and his kitten from a fire, and the compassion of the family they saved, Riley starts to reconsider his understanding of humans.
- Disney Death: It looks like Chance was hit by a truck, and poor Jamie is utterly devastated. Fortunately, Chance managed to dodge the truck, unharmed and a joyful reunion quickly follows.
- Disproportionate Retribution: While Shadow and Ashcan are fighting, Pete tells Sassy that once Ashcan injured another dog just for stepping on his tail.Shadow: Sassy run, see if you can find help!
Pete: (laughs) See what I mean?
Sassy: Oh my!
- Dogged Nice Guy: Bando thinks of Delilah as his girlfriend, in spite of the fact that Delilah has told him multiple times that they're friends, nothing else.
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-UniverseRiley: They send you to place called the lab. And that sounds bad.
Sassy: What's so bad about a lab that takes dogs away?
Shadow: Don't push it, Sassy.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Ralph, co-driver of the Blood Red Van, when Riley's gang, Shadow, and Sassy sit right in the path of the Blood Red Van after they captured Chance., was reluctant to run over them, despite Jack telling him to "show 'em who's boss!" Although, it could actually be because they were, as he described, worth about $100.
- Everyone Has Standards: Delilah doesn't like humans, but she still tells Chance that he shouldn't take food from "human pups".
- Fantastic Slur: Riley and his gang use the word "pet" to describe cats and dogs who have owners. Chance once used the same word to describe Shadow and Sassy in the original, since they were never strays like he was. Though Chance was mostly offended by the way Riley said it when he questions their relationship.Riley: What's up with this girl? I know you can't be serious!
Delilah: But Riley—
Riley: But nothing! The dude's a pet!
Chance: What's that supposed to mean?
- Five-Man Band: Rileys gang
- Flower-Pot Drop: Sassy knocks a flower pot off of a shelf on top of one of the mean stray dogs.Sassy: I see the old geranium to the cranium. Whoopsie!
- Freudian Excuse: Riley was bought as a gift, then abandoned when the kid he was supposed to be a present for didn't want him. Needless to say, there's a reason he's bitter.
- Heroic BSoD:
- Chance didn't take Delilah's I Did What I Had to Do speech well. He spends the whole night wandering the streets.
- Given that Riley described Delilah as "moping around like [her] tail [wouldn't] ever wag again", the feeling was mutual.
- He Would Do The Same for Me: This exchange after the fire scene.Stokey: You're pretty brave for a — a pet.Riley: Brave, huh? Listen, you think a human would do that for you?Shadow: My boy Peter would.
- Humans Are Bastards: Not only did a spoiled fat boy not want Riley (when he was a puppy), but his parents left him in the streets rather than take him back to the pet store they bought him from. Needless to say, there's a reason he's so bitter towards humans.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming:Ashcan: They brought their little kitty cat too. Lunch time!
Chance: Hey, nobody messes with the cat but me!
- I Did What I Had to Do: Delilah, realizing they can't be together, tells Chance he doesn't belong because a pet, and goes back to her boyfriend. She immediately regrets it after seeing Chance all heartbroken. Riley even said the same thing and tells her its not gonna work out because of their different upbringings, Delilah understands but it still doesn't make her feel any better. In the end, she doesn't care anymore and went back to Chance. And she's starting to see that not all humans are bad.
- Implausible Deniability: Bando has been told multiple times that he and Delilah are just friends, not a couple......By Delilah herself. He still insists though that she's serious about him, and so is bitterly jealous towards Chance.
- I Shall Taunt You: Chance insults Ashcan and Pete so he can lure them into a trap.
- I Warned You: Shadow tries to tell Delilah that Chance might not be able to survive in San Francisco and that she won't always be around for him. But she doesn't listen, aggravated by his and Riley's disapproval of their relationship. Later, when the Blood Red Van came, she tells Chance to run back inside, but he didn't hear her as he was having too much fun in the garbage. Realizing Shadow was right, she breaks up with him (see I Did What I Have to Do).
- Insult Backfire:Sassy: Canines, the feline's still hungry!
Shadow: We're all still hungry, Sassy.
Chance: Yeah, you gotta live with it, babe. This is the city. Only the strong survive.
Sassy: Well, then you're a goner.
Shadow: Will you two quit bickering?
- It's Personal: Bando isn't too enthusiastic about confronting the Blood Red Van to get Chance back. Then the Van runs into Delilah's paw, and "Now it's personal!"
- Jerkass: Riley's old humans. Rather than doing something sensible with this puppy like keep him anyway and hope things work out in the end, give him to another family, or even turning him in to a shelter, they just drive out and abandon him on the road where anything can happen to him. In these movies that empathize with dogs, that's the equivalent of abandoning an unwanted baby in a dumpster. Ouch.
- Let Me at Him!: The puppy in Riley's gang says this as they run to rescue Chance.
- Meadow Run: Chance and Delilah run to one another across the yard after Delilah tracked him back to his house.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Blood Red Van.
- Never Trust a Trailer: A scene often shown in advertisements for the film is one of Chance leaping up and snatching a hot dog from a man's hand. Said scene never appears in the film.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Chance got them lost, but he "justifies" it because he believed that their family was sending them to "the bad place" as Sassy had claimed, not realizing she was joking.Chance: Oh, so this is my fault? I just saved us from the bad place!
Sassy: No, you just got us lost again!
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Chance is understandably reluctant about making another long journey home."You remember what happened before? Huge mountains, stinky skunks, porcupines — not me, pops!"
- Older and Wiser:
- Chance... kind of. He also still has the scars from where he got nailed by a porcupine in the first movie.
- He now knows that the "squirrel having a bad hair day" is a porcupine, and the smelly animal from the hollowed log is a skunk.
- Parental Bonus:Sassy: Chance, you put the bull in bulldog.
- Pets Versus Strays: The strays range from "Not understanding why you'd want to be a pet" to "Heckling and mocking pets".
- Poor Communication Kills: Chance doesn't seem to know why Delilah broke up with him, let alone it was his own fault he got caught in the first place.
- Properly Paranoid:Jack: Don't you see what's happening here? They're turning against us!
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The co-driver quits after running away from the dogs.Ralph: "I don't want this job anymore!"
- Secret Handshake:Chance:: Show me the secret paw-shake.
Delilah: Secret paw-shake? They didn't show any secret paw-shake.
Chance: Ah, they didn't, huh? Good, cause there ain't one.
- Shipper on Deck: Sledge accepts Delilah and Chance. And doesn't think Banjo is good enough for Delilah.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Chance and Delilah. Delilah is a streetwise city dog who's wary of humans and Chance is a house pet.
- The Fake Cutie: Sassy acts less bratty around humans.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Jack & Ralph, dog thieves and drivers of the Blood-Red Van.
- Threat Backfire: When Shadow and Ashcan first fight each other.Shadow: (growling) I'm warning you!
Ashcan: Thanks for the warning! (he strikes first)
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Jamie, who was the sweetest, cutest little lump of "boy-and-his-dog" adorable ever in the first movie, spends the beginning of this movie sulking over the fact that he has to go to Canada with his family and miss playing baseball with his friend Stacy. He takes his anger out on Chance by snapping irritably at everything he does, and is especially sore after Chance unintentionally ruins his last baseball game just before the trip. This leads to Chance thinking he's being sent back to the pound when the time comes to load him onto the airplane, which leads to all three animals running away and getting lost. However, after this happens, Jamie regrets how he acted, and when he reunites with Chance in the end he apologizes and reassures him that he loves him.