Out there is a big, beautiful world filled with sights and smells that pets love to explore. No pet parent expects to lose their fur-kid or have them stolen – but accidents happen. However in most cases, the heartbreak of losing a pet could easily have been prevented, if precautionary steps had been taken. For National Lost Pet Prevention Month in July, we are devoting time to spreading awareness on how to prevent lost pets.
Below are tips to help prevent lost pets:
Fence Your Yard Securely
Some dogs and cats can squeeze through small gaps in fences so be sure to patch any gap that you find. Check your fence regularly for new gaps, holes, or even rotted boards. Then fix them immediately. Be mindful of items such as a patio set or a storage unit near a fence which a pet could use as leverage to help leap over the fence. If your dog is a digger, make sure there is a solid surface under your fence instead of dirt so your dog can’t escape by digging a hole.
Keep Dogs Leashed And Cats Crated When Traveling
When in unfamiliar environments, pets can easily become disoriented and get lost if they escape. Therefore, keep dogs leashed and cats crated when traveling. It pays to be safe than sorry!
Lock Your Gates To Prevent Lost Pets
If gates are not latched properly, gates can swing open or blow open in the wind. They can also be accidentally left open if they don’t have a proper closure. Protect your dog or cat by placing a lock or a tension cable across the gate to keep it securely closed. Aside from keeping your pet from escaping, this will prevent unwanted people from entering your property.
Keep Collars And Leashes In Good Condition
Check collars and leashes often for fraying or tears. Then replace them as soon as needed. Also make sure your pet’s collar is properly fitted. You do not want it to be too tight or too loose. A loose collar can slip off over your pet’s head.
Do Not Leave Pets Unattended
Never leave your pets in the car alone or outside unattended. It only takes a quick moment for someone to take your fur-kid! If you cannot take your dog into stores with you when you run errands, leave him at home where he will be safe and comfortable.
Train Your Dog To Prevent Lost Pets
Train your dog to respond to basic obedience commands. Many dog parents love to frequent leash-free areas, where dogs can interact with each other and get some exercise. However, all dogs need to be under control while off-leash. A trained dog is less likely to run off, and can be “called off”, if play should become inappropriate and a “time-out” is needed.
Spay Or Neuter
Neutered pets are less likely to wander. If you live in the Los Angeles area, check out this link from NKLA Best Friends Adoption Center to see if your pet is eligible for discounted or free spay/neuter surgery services.
Beware Of Loud Noises
Many dogs are terrified of loud noises such as thunderstorms, fireworks, construction work, etc. Don’t bring your pets to events where loud noises are expected – even if they have never had a negative reaction to them before. If you must bring your pet, ensure he is supervised and securely crated or leashed. It is a bad idea to leave pets outside in yards (even if fenced) on holidays where neighbors may be setting off fireworks. Panicking pets can escape a gated yard when spooked by fireworks.
Always Wear An Id Or Pet Tag For Your Pets
Identification includes a collar with a tag with up-to-date contact information and a microchip tag. Other tags may include a license or important medical information. Collars can come loose and tags may fall off, so a microchip is an extra layer of identification for your pet. Regularly check that your contact information is both current and readable on the tag. If not, replace it.
Always Have A Good And Current Photo Of Your Pet Ready
Have a few clear photos of your pet handy. A full body shot as well as a close-up shot of your pet’s face is necessary. These pictures will be indispensable if your pet goes missing. Every Monday, Where Your Pets Are Found, encourages pet parents to participate in their #MarkingMondays. This is where you can share and tag a photo of your pet with his distinctive unique markings that you could use to identify him in the event he gets lost. Some of their social media sites where you can participate in #MarkingMondays are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Making use of the above tips will help prevent lost pets. Do you have more tips to add?
*This article was updated in July of 2019.*