We love our furry family members. Having a pet go missing is a traumatic and stressful situation. Sometimes these are temporary because of curiosity - they escape into the neighborhood following the scents of rabbits, dogs, or other animals.
Over the years we’ve been on many of these hunts, one family member in the car, the others on foot, calling out, looking for our pup, and luckily in all of our excursions, we’ve had success finding our guy.
But what if the situation was different? We’ve had many friends and neighbors who lost their pets, primarily dogs, for longer. Some have had a happy ending, some...have not.
July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month, so we feel it fitting to share some tips to help prevent losing your pet, in this case, how to prevent a lost dog:
Secure your dog in a fenced yard or leash
Missing dogs are usually the result of an unsecured area, or not on a leash. No matter how well trained you think your dog is, do not let your pet wander around outside, unsupervised. This is how many dogs get lost or are stolen. Fences should be buried at least 6 inches into the ground and at least 6 feet, or tall enough to secure a jumping pet. For tethered leashes, never leave your dog unsupervised. Dogs can be stolen or can injure themselves if left unattended.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Unsupervised
Unsupervised dogs become lost. Don’t leave your dog outside alone for long periods. And when traveling, never leave your dog alone in your car for long periods. When left alone for extended periods, dogs become bored and look for a way to escape. The American Humane Association estimates 1 out of 3 pets become lost at some point in their lifetime, and close to 10 million dogs and cats are stolen every year in the US. In addition, the Coalition of Reuniting Pets and Families estimates that less than 23% of lost pets in the US are ever reunited with their families.
Have your dog microchipped. A tiny implant, usually between the shoulder blades, contains vital information for veterinarians, or shelters which can be used to find out who the dog belongs to.
Spay or Neuter your pet. Spayed or neutered pets are less likely to wander off in search of a mate. According to the ASPCA, 75% of owned pets are spayed, or neutered, but only 10% of pets coming into shelters are spayed or neutered.
Train your dog. Dogs who have gone through obedience training tend to be more well-behaved and are less likely to wind up in shelters. This also gives the owners the opportunity to learn valuable training skills and information to prevent future mistakes that can lead to missing dogs.
Get a License. This seems to be a commonsense step, but many dog owners forget to get a city license for their pets. Having a license on your dog's collar gives authorities the information they need to track down their owners.
There are other steps you can take as well...DNA snapshots, simple phone identification tags, vital stats, photo evidence, and vaccination records.
Making sure you take the time to follow these steps can help to keep your pet safe and minimize the chance of you having to scour the neighborhood looking for your wayward family member.