Losing your animal is one of the scariest experiences you can have as a pet parent. According to the ASPCA, about 15 percent of pet parents had lost a dog or cat in the previous five years. While we recognize July as National Pet Prevention Month, let’s think about how we can prevent the nerve-wracking situation from happening in the first place.
Why Pets Get Lost
Pets can go missing for many reasons. They may escape from an enclosed backyard or inadvertently get let out by your kids during a playdate. They might break away from the leash while you’re on vacation or jump out of the car when you stop at a gas station. Pets are also notorious for panicking when they hear the fireworks and thunderstorms that are common during the month of July.
A dog that gets off the leash or wanders may get picked up by a Good Samaritan. However, if your dog gets into a car with a stranger, it can be harder for you to find them. Dogs that get lost may also roam around, unable to find their way home. This is especially a concern if your dog is frightened. Wandering dogs may get in accidents or be attacked by another animal, making it physically impossible for them to return to you.
The most common lost cat scenario involves the cat getting trapped somewhere. When cats don’t feel well, they tend to seclude themselves. This can make it tough for you to find your cat even if they haven’t left the neighborhood. If your kitty found a safe place to hide in someone else’s car, she might accidentally get transported far away from home.
Tips for Pet Loss Prevention
Of course, the best way to help a lost pet is to prevent the animal from going missing in the first place. However, an ID tag on their collar is a great place to start remembering, the collar should fit snugly enough that your pet can’t slip it off. Check the hardware on the collar regularly to prevent wear and tear.
Microchipping is also a great way to keep tabs on your furry friend. A microchip is a rice-sized implant embedded under your pet’s skin and remains in place for life. Most people know they can bring an animal to a veterinarian, shelter, or rescue organization to scan the pet for a microchip. When your pet’s microchip is scanned, a unique number will be displayed on the scanner’s screen, matching up with your contact information in a database. If you have your animal microchipped, make sure to keep your data updated.
Although it is important to let your pet have fresh air regularly, keeping it indoors is one of the best ways to prevent losing your pet. Cats can easily jump a fence, and dogs may not be as agile, but they may try to create their own escape routes. If you can keep your eye on your pet while it’s outdoors, you can better prevent a lost animal or pet-snatching scenario.
What To Do If Your Pet Does Go Missing
First off, start looking for your pet immediately. The longer you wait, the lower your chances are of recovering your furry friend. Putting up signs and letting neighbors know can help everyone stay on the lookout for your furry loved one. It is also a good idea to call your local veterinarians and animal shelters. They will let you know if a rescuer brings in your animal.
Unfortunately, repeatedly calling your pet’s name can make them more frightened, especially if others have tried to do already. If you catch a glimpse of your pet running free, don’t chase or call them. Even trying to approach your pet slowly can freak it out if it’s already panicked. Getting down on your knees or even lying flat on the ground can help them stay calm. Lastly, you can calmly lure them towards you with a treat. Patience is key!
If you have any questions or want to get your pet microchipped, please call Northwoods Veterinary Hospital at 208-683-2708 in Athol, Idaho.