Just in Time for National Lost Pet Awareness Month...
Updated: Oct 7
July is Pet Loss Prevention Month, a whole 31 days dedicated to educating owners on how to help prevent their pets from getting lost and ways you can successfully find them. According to the ASPCA, millions of animals that belonged to families end up in shelters each year. Unfortunately, not all of them find their way back home, but you can increase those odds with a few simple steps.
If you're going out of town, don't leave your pets alone. Hire a pet sitter who can check on your furry family members in their home environment every day, which allows you to move fast if your dog goes missing out of the backyard. There will be minimal delay in searching for your pet versus leaving them alone and having a couple of days go by before you realize they're missing. By keeping pets in their home environment, they also feel more comfortable and are less likely to try to bolt when they get nervous.
Identification is an important part of helping to prevent your dog or cat from getting lost. They should wear a name tag with your contact information on it. That way, if person finds them, they can call you to come get your critter. Having your dog's name on the tag can also relax your pet because they can be referred to by their name. In addition, you can often put medical information on these tags, so that the person that finds your pet understands the severity of your dog getting reunited with you to get its medicine.
Another form of identification is microchipping. This is a great way to identify your pet, and most shelters and veterinary hospitals have microchip scanners to get the pet's unique identification number. This then allows them to call the microchip company and find out who the pet belongs to. You'll want to keep this information kept up-to-date if you move or change phone numbers, so your pet can always be found.
A handy way to keep your pet readily visible in the eyes of the public around you, i.e. your neighbors, is to interact with your neighbors. Take your dog on walks around the neighborhood and speak to your neighbors. They'll start to learn you and your pet's name and associate where you live. So if Junebug were to get out of her yard, Mr. Smith may remember that she belongs to you and bring her back home. You never know: you might even make new friends in the neighborhood.
A newer way to keep track of your pets is to have a GPS tracker fitted to their collar. This allows you to know exactly where they are anywhere, as long as you keep the battery charged. With these, you'll often set a range that your pet is allowed to be in, so it alerts you if your pet goes out of its yard or zone.
When walking your pet, you should keep them on a secure leash and collar or harness. This will minimize their ability to escape or break off of the leash to chase a squirrel and go missing. You should never walk you pet off-leash unless you're in a confined area, such as your yard.
There you have it; several ways you can minimize the risk of losing your dog or cat. Identification is the hallmark of preventing pet loss, with tags on collars and microchips making tracking you, the owner, down quickly and with little fuss. In some areas, if your pet is tagged and animal control picks them up, they'll deliver them back to your house for you, so you don't have to worry. Having a pet sitter check on them every day when you're gone will also help find them faster if they escape.
Are you going away and having trouble finding a pet sitter in the Bel Air area? Lucky for you, I happen to know one! Contact me, let’s chat!