There are ways to help prevent the tragedy of losing a pet.
Losing a pet is one of a pet owner’s worst nightmares. Each year, about 10 million pets go missing in the US, and only a grim 10% are reunited with their owners. Understanding a few of the most common reason dogs run off or are displaced from their owners is crucial in helping to prevent these types of situations from arising. There are also a few things you can do as an owner to help someone identify and return your animal in case you are ever separated from your pet.
How do pets get lost?
There are many reasons a dog and owner can become separated. A common reason is the pet being frightened. Some dogs are easily spooked by loud noises such as thunderstorms and fireworks. A panicked animal can often slip a collar or leap a fence and take off running. By the time it stops to rest, it is completely disoriented. July 4th fireworks alone are responsible for a spike in shelter admissions of runaway pets. Other pets are natural explorers and roamers. Sometimes a pet can easily wander outside their familiar range and become lost. Often, a dog or cat that is ill or dehydrated can make critical errors when trying to find its way home. It may wander aimlessly or experience a fall or other injury that impairs its ability to seek water or food. For some runaways, the scenario is grim. Many are struck by cars or attacked by other animals, such as coyotes or snakes. An injured animal can be hard to spot and often these animals do not receive the aid they need. Another common scenario is emergency situations, like a housefire or medical crisis. And in areas where evacuations due to extreme weather or natural events are common, like wildfires or hurricanes, pets can easily become lost in the confusion. Additionally, pet theft is a very troublesome problem in the US, with over 2 million pets annually being abducted.
Fortunately, there are simple precautions you can take to prevent your animal from becoming lost:
Never leave your animal unattended. Most lost pets are unattended at the time they go missing. Keeping your pet in sight when outdoors can greatly reduce the risk that it will become lost.
Take precautions during thunderstorms or around firework displays. If you know your pet is skittish around loud or sudden noises, be sure it has a safe place to ride out these events. Learn to recognize the signs of anxiety in your pet and try calming techniques to provide relief.
Provide an escape proof enclosure for your pet if they are accustomed to spending a lot of time in the yard. Fences should be high enough to prevent your animal from either leaping or scaling them and supports should be secure enough the prevent digging dogs from tunneling beneath them.
All pets should wear a collar with current contact information for their owners in case they escape. This simple precaution can help a good Samaritan easily locate you and return your pet.
Microchipping your pet is also highly recommended. If the animal is found on the street and has no tags, the next thing to check is if it is chipped. A good Samaritan can take the animal to any shelter or vet and have it checked. If the information on the chip is current, the facility checking for a chip will contact you to be reunited with your pet!
Being separated from a pet can be a truly terrifying experience. But with a little diligence and safeguarding, you can greatly reduce the risk of ever happening with a pet.
Did you know we sell items in our shop to help calm your pet? Call us to learn more!
Thank you for reading! We are committed to caring for the many needs of your pets, and appreciate your support of our business.