For us pet owners, losing a pet can be extremely scary. Not knowing where your pet is, how to find them or whether they are safe, are not situations any one of us would want to be in. That’s why making sure you are proactive in making sure your pet can’t get lost, or can be easily found if it does, is so important.
July is Pet Loss Prevention Month, a month dedicated to helping pet owners be aware of the steps they can take to keep their pets at home and not lost out on the streets. Here are 10 helpful tips to follow to make sure your furry friend is safe:
If your pet gets loose, one of the first things many people will check is if they are wearing a collar with tags. Make sure to keep your information up to date on your pet’s tags and never leave the house with your pet without their collar on.
Collars with tags are usually the easiest and most notable way for a lost pet to be found, but what if your pet runs out of the house after a bath? Or they lose their collar escaping from your yard? Microchips are incredibly small devices that are painless for your pet to have implanted just beneath their skin. When scanned at a local shelter or by an animal control officer, they will be able to see your contact information form the microchip to help you and your pet be reunited.
When taking your pet out for a walk, especially in an unfamiliar place, it’s always important to be sure they are attached to a leash. Life can be unpredictable and even pets that are well-trained can be frightened by loud sounds or new places, causing them to run away from you. Practicing safe and secure leash training is just another means of ensuring your pet stays by your side.
Secure your house by closing fence gates and doors. If you have a fenced in yard, make sure the fence is tall enough that your pet cannot jump out of it and secure enough around the bottom so they can’t dig underneath it. Be mindful when leaving and entering your home that your pet is away from the door and will not bolt out. Take time to look around your house and think of activities you have planned. If you see somewhere that looks like it has the potential for your pet to get through and escape, secure it.
Traveling to new places can be fun and exciting, but not always for our pets. From the time they are in the car to the moment you arrive at your destination, keep a solid travel safety plan in place. Make sure your pet is safely secure in the backseat of your car with the windows locked, and have a leash readily available for potty breaks.
No matter where you are, even if you are at home, keep an eye on your pet. Sometimes it just takes a few moments of us not paying attention for our pets to sneak off and find a way to go someplace they aren’t supposed to. If you’re leaving for long periods of time, having a doggy cam can be especially helpful.
It’s not just enough to teach your dog how to stay and come when called, it must be taught reliably. This means, that your dog knows exactly what you are asking of them, and you can be confident that they will listen. Practicing recall commands in a safe environment is important, however you must remember that it is not always guaranteed that your dog will come (they are individuals, after all) and certain circumstances may override their ability to listen. Never rely on recall alone and only use it as another tool should your dog get off their leash or out of your yard.
Whether it’s a car horn, thunderstorm, or fireworks, be mindful of loud noises in the environment. Loud noises can trigger an animal’s fight or flight response, making the likelihood for them to get lost higher. Avoid loud areas when possible and have a secure, calming place for your dog to go to when they get scared by an approaching storm. The more you can do to prepare yourself and your pet beforehand will leave you both feeling safer and happier.
Always make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccines. One of the deadliest diseases a pet (or human!) can get is rabies. If they get loose and encounter a rabid animal, you will be thankful that you kept up with routine vet visits and updating their vaccines.
Lastly, in any situation, stay calm. If you’re near your pet, remaining calm will help them to relax, and if they get lost, being calm will help you think more clearly to locate them.
Remember that pet loss prevention begins with you as a pet owner. If you find a lost pet in your neighborhood, report it by contacting the owner by using the information located on the pet’s tags or taking it to your local animal shelter to check it for a microchip.