Our furry friends bring immense joy and companionship to our lives, and it is our responsibility as pet owners to ensure their safety and well-being. Sadly, lost pets are a common occurrence and lead to countless pets ending up homeless or in shelters across the country. But with proper precautions and proactive measures, we can significantly reduce the chances that our beloved pets will go missing and if they do, we can increase our chances of bringing them home!
Even if you believe you are the safest pet parent in the world, it is always smart to make sure you have a checklist to prevent your pet from getting lost. Here are some essential tips to help keep our beloved pets safe, happy, and at home!
Microchip and Identification
Provide your pet with a collar and ID tag displaying their name, your phone number, and any other relevant details. This way is your pet is found, it will be much easier for others to reach out and help you bring them back home. One of the most effective ways to increase the chances of reuniting with a lost pet is through proper identification.
Additionally, if your pup loses their collar and ends up lost, a vet or shelter can scan for their microchip, which will have their name, your contact information, and your primary vet or shelter information. The process of getting a microchip implanted is no more painful than a vaccine, and your dog will have no clue it is even there!
Once the chip is implanted, it is especially important to keep the registration current and up to date, this way if someone else tries to claim your dog, you can legally prove the dog is yours by looking at their microchip.
Secure Your Home and Yard
One of the most common ways pets can go missing is by escaping from their own yard. There have been plenty of times when people found a dog wandering their neighborhood and mistook it for a stray, often leading them to be placed in a shelter instead of reunited with their family.
Pets are extremely curious and resourceful creatures and any lapse in security can lead to an escape. Make certain that you are regularly checking the fencing around your property before allowing your dog out in the yard. You will want to check that the height of your fence is appropriate for your size dog, ensuring that they cannot jump or wiggle through. Some dogs will take another approach and attempt to dig under the fence. You can help prevent this by placing rocks or chicken wire lining the bottom of the fence and patching any holes they attempt to create. Also check for loose fences, broken gates, or gaps in windows that your pet could slip through.
By creating a secure environment, you minimize the risk of your pet wandering off!
Supervision and Training
Never leave your pet unattended outdoors, especially in an unfamiliar or unfenced area. Keep a watchful eye on them during walks, visits to parks, or any other outdoor activities.
Proper obedience training can also play a crucial role in preventing your pet from running away. Whether you are taking them for a walk or a car ride, there is always a chance your dog could see something they find exciting, scary, or interesting and take off. Teaching them basic commands like “Come”, “Stay”, and “Wait”, can be invaluable in emergency situations. Knowing these commands can not only keep your dog from getting lost, but it could even save your pup’s life! For example, you could stop them from running into traffic or other dangerous situations.
The younger you train your dog these commands the better! Older dogs can still learn these commands, but earlier training has better results.
Be Safe In The Car
An easy time for dogs to escape is when they are in the car. Your dog could easily run off when you open the door, or even escape through a window open too far. If your dog gets easily excited when you open the door, make sure you leave their leash on. Know your dog’s typical behavior and figure out what works best for them.
Seat belts, as well as crates, are also an effective way to make sure your dog is safe and secure while in the car. There are several dog seat belts available but be sure to check that they are safety-tested and ask your veterinarian for more information.
Never leave your dog alone in a car. Not only could your dog suffer from heat stroke, but there is also the possibility that someone could break into your car and take your dog away.
Consider Spay or Neuter
Getting your pup spayed or neutered is extremely important in the prevention of overpopulation while also helping to keep more dogs from ending up in shelters, but it is also a terrific way to keep your pet from wandering off and getting lost.
When male dogs are not neutered, they have a higher tendency to seek out females and are more likely to wander off from your home. Neutering your dog will help take away this instinct, making your dog calmer and more dependable, preventing further behavioral problems.
Female dog can also benefit from being spayed, as fewer males will attempt to mate with them. Aggressive males can cause a female dog to bolt, so it is beneficial to remove that temptation all together.
Spread The Word
In the unfortunate event that your pet does go missing, time is of the essence! Act swiftly by contacting local animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and rescue organizations. Provide them with a detailed description of your pet, including clear photos and any identifying features. Utilize social media platforms, neighborhood groups, and online pet databases to spread the word about your missing pet. The more people who are aware, the greater chances of someone spotting and recognizing your furry friend!
Lost Pet Prevention Month serves as a reminder of the importance of taking proactive measures to safeguard our pets. By implementing these preventive strategies and being prepared for unforeseen circumstances, we can significantly reduce the risk of our pets going missing and help ensure that our lost pets make their way back home!