For most of us with pets, the thought of losing them feels like the prelude to a panic attack. The good news is there are ways to keep your pet from getting lost that don’t involve keeping them crated 24/7. There are also things you should do prior to losing the pet that will make it easier to find and reunite with your pet. Here are eight of them:
1. Document Your Pet
When you find your lost pet, you may need to prove ownership and provide registration information. Make sure you have plenty of current photos or video of your pet. Take pictures that show identifying traits that will help prove it is your pet. Keep rabies and vaccine documentation ready for the time you need it. For the pictures and documentation you can store the information yourself or use a service like Pet Video Verify (http://www.petvideoverify.com).
2. Microchip ‘Em
Have the vet insert a microchip with your contact information on it. A scanner makes quick work of identifying a lost pet and finding out who he or she belongs to. Putting a microchip in a collar is iffy, since the collar can fall off. However, the collar should be fitted with a legible and up-to-date ID tag anyway.
3. Know Your Local Animal Services and Lost Pet Website Resources
There are plenty of sites and services available to help you find your lost pet. You should identify them prior to losing your pet, so you are prepared to provide info needed. You will be panicking when your beloved pet goes missing. Make it easier on yourself by having a plan. At the least make sure you know your local Animal Services and how to check on the animals that are at the shelter. Unfortunately some shelters are kill shelters and you don’t want your pet in them any longer than they have to be. Know what documentation they require to get your pet. Know what the fees are upfront.
4. Be Mindful When Opening a Door
The person whose cat came at the sound of drawer being opened loved to run out of the front door when it was opened. Fortunately, they lived in an apartment building and the cat never ventured farther than the trash compactor. But folks who live in places where a door opens to the outside need to make sure that their pet is secure. This also refers to the car door.
5. Make Sure Your Fence is Secure
One trick is to bury the lower few inches of a chain length or wire fence beneath the ground so a dog can’t dig his way out. Wood and vinyl fences should be checked regularly to make sure there are no loose areas or holes. Nothing should be placed against the fence that a dog or cat can jump up on and use to scramble over.
6. Have Them Neutered
Safety is one of the many reasons to get Muffin or Barkley fixed. Since it takes two to tango, a pet who hasn’t been neutered has a very strong incentive to go roaming around. Not only that, a female can attract males who will do their best to get into your yard to get to her. You do not want this.
7. Obedience Training is Good
A dog who is trained to stay on command is less likely to run out of the house when the door is opened. Make sure you give him a treat, and praise lavishly when he obeys.
8. Make Sure You Know Where They Are at All Times
This doesn’t mean being a helicopter parent, but you should have an idea of where your dog or cat is in the area. This is especially important with cats, because a lot of them like to hide for one reason or another. If you can’t find her, call her name. She might appear. If that doesn’t work, make a sound that’s irresistible. One person whose cat went hiding used to open a drawer in a chest in the bathroom. This was where she kept all the grooming utensils. The cat absolutely could not resist this sound and would come flying out of wherever she was. Of course, the owner then groomed the cat.
A big part of your best friend’s care is to make sure they’re supervised at all times when they’re outdoors. By a human, of course.
These are a few of the tips that will prevent you from ever experiencing the heartbreak of a lost pet.