It is dreadful to think about, but even caring pet owners can lose track of their dogs. It can just be a simple oversight or a distracted moment and it can be very scary.
Nothing can guarantee it will never happen, but simple precautions can greatly reduce the chances and make reuniting your dog highly likely. Here are simple steps to help safeguard your pet from getting separated from you:
Don’t leave your pet alone
The biggest factor in considering the safety of your dog is supervision. Making sure they are with someone is key to keeping track of them. It takes more than a strong fence. If you must be gone, try to figure out a way to have someone keep an eye on your pets.
Don’t ever leave your dog unsupervised in the car. Boredom can drive some pets to find a way to escape from a yard or car. It is estimated, as many as 1.5 million dogs and cats are taken right from those very spots each year. Most of them are never recovered.
Find a comfortable kennel for your dogs when you leave the house. Better yet, find a pet sitter or pet daycare during work days.
Put a microchip in your dog
A veterinarian can implant a tiny microchip between your pet’s shoulder blades. All your contact information and any medical information about your dog can be stored and recovered with a simple scan in a rescue shelter or vet clinic. These chips are responsible for the return of many lost dogs that could not otherwise be identified.
Train your dog
It seems obvious, but well-trained dogs are less likely to end up in shelters.The ability to follow commands could mean the difference between a dog that stays and one that bolts. In general, obedient dogs have better communication with their owners which can help steer them away from fun-loving play and reckless behavior.
Use a fence or leash
Even if your dog is extremely well-trained, don’t let him wander around unsupervised. The majority of pets reported missing were left unsecured or got out of the house without a leash.
Make sure your fence is secure. That includes tall enough for jumping pets, deep enough (at least 6 inches) for digging pets, firm and solid board for pushy pets or tiny pets.
An invisible fence works for some dogs, others are willing to bear the pain of the shock in exchange for the joy of chasing a squirrel. You won’t know unless you try.
Get a license
A license and collar tag provide the information needed to track down an owner. It also include rabies information which is a courtesy to your neighbors. It can be far more costly to skip this step instead of paying the fees.
Spay or neuter your pet
Though approximately 75% of pets are spayed or neutered, only 10% of recovered animals coming into shelters are spayed or neutered. Un-fixed pets are more likely to wander off in search of a mate and create more homeless animals.
Add a phone tag
Simply adding your phone number on a collar tag provides a way to connect with an owner. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to return a pet, with no way to contact an owner.
Keep a file
Every pet owner should keep a file with a photograph and vital details for each pet. This should include vaccination records and a good color photograph. If your dog does go missing, know where to access this file to provide to neighbors, the police and local animal shelters.
Record Your Pet DNA
The American Kennel Club keep DNA record in their database for purebred dogs. This evidence can even be used in court,if there is a question about the identity of a dog. Your veterinarian can help you obtain your dog’s DNA fingerprints.