Each year, approximately 10 million pets are lost in the United States, and millions of those lost pets end up in the nation’s animal shelters. Losing a pet is a traumatic experience for both you and your furry friend. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent your pet from getting lost in the first place. From microchipping to training, this guide provides essential tips to help prevent lost pets.
Microchip Your Pet.
One of the most critical steps to prevent your pet from getting lost is to have them microchipped. A microchip is a small device that is implanted under your pet’s skin and contains a unique identification number. It is a quick, easy, and painless procedure. If your pet is lost and picked up by a shelter or veterinarian, they can scan the microchip to identify your pet and contact you. It’s essential to keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company to ensure they can contact you.
Keep Identification Tags Up to Date.
In addition to microchipping, it’s essential to ensure your pet has up-to-date identification tags on their collar. These tags should include your pet’s name, your name and phone number, and any other relevant information such as medical needs or allergies. If your pet is lost and someone finds it, they can quickly contact you and return your pet. Check the tags regularly to ensure they are still legible and not damaged.
Train Your Pet to Come When Called.
One of the most important things you can do to prevent your pet from getting lost is to train them to come when called. This can be done through positive reinforcement training, where you reward your pet with treats or praise when they come to you. Start by practicing in a quiet, distraction-free environment and gradually increase the level of distraction as your pet becomes more reliable. This skill can be a lifesaver if your pet ever gets loose and needs to be called back to safety.
People are more familiar with training dogs to follow commands, but pet parents can train cats too. A method that has become popular for training cats is clicker training (which is used with dogs too). A simple beginner’s book is called “Clicker Training for Cats” by Karen Pryor. Even without clicker training, you can train a cat to come by calling them and then giving them treats when they arrive. Cats typically respond to the sound of a treat bag when you shake it, and they will come.
Use Leashes or Harnesses.
Another important way to prevent your pet from getting lost is to always use a leash or harness when outside of your home or yard. Even if your pet is well-trained, unexpected distractions or stimuli can cause them to run off. Here are some additional reasons to keep your dog on a leash:
- Keeping Your Dog on a Leash Can Prevent Accidents and Injuries. A dog running around off-leash can quickly run into the street, cause an accident, or get hit by a car.
- With Your Dog on a Leash, You Can Protect Your Dog from Other Animals. Even a good-natured dog can become a victim to more aggressive dogs running loose on the street. You have better control over your dog when it is on a leash.
- Respect Others’ Space with Your Dog on a Leash. Using a leash, you can ensure your dog stays within control and doesn’t invade other people’s space.
- Avoid Legal Issues. Dogs must be kept on leashes in Oklahoma whenever they are in public. If your dog is off-leash and causes damage or harm to someone or their property, you could be liable for any resulting expenses or legal fees.
- Reduce the Chance Your Dog Will Eat or Drink Something Poisonous. Many toxic substances are out there, including street drugs left in the environment that can cause death in pets. Also, there are bacterial dangers such as Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a potentially serious illness caused by the bacteria Leptospira, which can affect both people and animals. The bacteria can infect people and animals who drink or swim in contaminated water or have direct contact with fluids or tissues of infected animals.
Secure Your Yard and Home.
One of the best ways to prevent your pet from getting lost is to secure your yard and home. Ensure your fence is sturdy and tall enough to prevent your pet from jumping over or digging under it. Check for gaps or holes your pet could escape through and repair them immediately. A popular fence for cats is the Purrfect Fence.
Keep doors and windows closed and locked, especially when you are not at home. Consider installing a pet door that only opens with a special collar or microchip to prevent other animals from entering your home. Taking these precautions can help ensure that your pet stays safe and secure in its environment.
Final Words to Keep Your Pet from Getting Lost
Your furry friends are part of the family, so it is understandably very heartbreaking if a pet gets lost. By following the above tips, you improve the odds that your pet will be safe and sharing many happy days with the family.
Please contact us if you have any questions about any of these tips, need to bring your pet in to be microchipped, or any other medical need.
Your Friendly Team
Hammond Veterinary Hospital