Lost Pet Prevention Month: Are You Prepared?
Updated: Jun 30
It would be the world's worst nightmare! In my wildest dreams, I can't begin to imagine what it would feel like!
Every year, more than 10 million pets go missing in North America with over 75% of them never returning home. Roughly just 20% of lost dogs will make their way home on their own, while only about 21% of lost dogs without a microchip are returned to their owners. The good news is that approximately 90% of the time, your pet will be found in your area in less than 12 hours.
But, why would you want to put yourself in the position of frantic worry and horror because your pup has bolted when there are so many ways to a) prevent it in the first place, and b) make it much easier to rescue them in the second?
July is Lost Pet Prevention Month and I have summarized a number of ways to mitigate the possibility of your best friend going missing this summer.
1. Trackable ID tags
These days GPS technology has become indispensable and this is one of the best applications. With dozens to choose from, tracking tags and collars are a great way to proactively keep tabs on your pooch. Over the summer when travelling, they are especially useful in the event that your pup gets loose.
2. Teach recall ... come/sit/stay
Easily one of THE MOST IMPORTANT things you need to work on is recall and sit/stay! Unfortunately, even the pooch with the best recall might bolt in a frightening situation or wander on the trail of some enticing scent, and that alone is why following number 3 is essential when you are out and about with your pup. But, regardless, if you teach your pooch nothing else, recall and sit/stay are critical.
3. Use leash at all times
Not much to elaborate on here. Plain and simple, use that harness and leash! There's no need to risk your pup's safety for your puffed up ego because Fido walks along with his leash in his mouth or with it dangling off your shoulder. All it takes is one distraction for disaster to strike.
4. Secure your yard
Ensuring that your yard is escape proof, especially for high energy pups who love action, is important. Being certain that there are no gaps under fences or loose latches on gates will prevent a distressing situation. However, being present at all times while your pooch is out in the yard is one of the best ways to keep close tabs on him and abort any escape attempt.
5. Use Car Restraints
Another critical tool in preventing a heartache is using a car seat and seatbelt restraint system while travelling. Over the summer, as we travel more with our families and fur-kids, precautions should be taken while in transit. For further information on travelling with your fur-kids over the summer check out 7 Critical Things (and more) To Remember For A Safe and Fun-Filled Fur-Kid Holiday.
6. Pet Proof Your Home
Our homes are a source of hazards when it comes to our fur-kids' safety. Once again, even as part of pup-proofing our homes, recall/sit/stay is imperative. When a door is opened to guests or for a delivery, you'll want to be certain your pooch isn't going to bolt. Doggy doors are probably the best way to destroy any recall/sit/stay that has been taught. Allowing your pup to come and go at leisure may be convenient for you, but you're risking your fur-kid getting into mischief or worse yet, finding an unidentified escape route while you're not supervising.
7. Spay and Neuter
You're scratching your head at this one? Well, intact animals are more prone to roam and if they get loose, the chance that they head off after a scent in the park or along a trail is enough to risk losing them forever. Spay and neuter your pups!
8. Microchip & Keep Documentation Up-To-Date
If the worst is to happen and your pup does somehow manage to get out, having an up-to-date microchip registered is imperative. Pups without a chip who go missing are far less likely to be reunited with their families. Be sure to have photos and "bios" registered on "find me" sites so that making identification of your fur-kids is easier and more accurate.
9. PAY ATTENTION!
This cannot be stated emphatically enough; PAY ATTENTION! When we adopted our fur-kids we took on the responsibility to keep them safe. Assessing the risks to your pup for such things as taking them along to a festival, on a walking/hiking trail, a beach, a family barbeque, etc. is important. Setting aside the "fear factors" that might overwhelm your pooch (not all dogs like being around crowds, loud noises, etc.), thinking about the possibility of bolting should be carefully considered.
As we kick off our summer season with Canada Day for us and Independence Day for our neighbours to the south, let's take time to make a careful assessment of potential risks facing our fur-kids and develop a plan to prevent what would be a devastating and heart-wrenching situation.