One of a dog owner’s biggest fears will always be losing their pet. Losing a pet is like losing a child and is an experience no one should ever have to go through. July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month and serves as an important reminder to make sure your pet stays safe and does not get lost. Even if you believe you are the safest pet owner, it’s always smart to make sure you have a checklist in case something happens. Here are ten vital tips to insure you will never lose your precious pup.
In today’s technological world, tracking your missing dog has never been easier. Thanks to the technology of microchips, more people have been reunited with their lost dogs. If your dog loses its collar and ends up lost, a vet or shelter can scan for the microchip, which will contain their name, the owner’s contact information, and their primary vet or shelter information. It is completely painless and your dog will have no idea it even has a microchip. Only about the size of a grain of rice, a vet will inject the microchip under your dog’s skin and it will stay there for his or her entire life. It’s also important because if someone else claims your dog; legally, by looking at the microchip, you can prove the dog is yours.
2. Collar With Dog Tags
While it may seem obvious, some people forget how extremely vital it is for your dog to not only have a secure collar, but also have a dog tag. Loose collars can fall off and, over time, become torn and wear down. It is important that you check your dog’s collar to make sure it is still in proper shape. Also, you don’t want to choke your dog, so be sure to find an even balance between secure and comfortable. While most people use collars, many forget how important dog tags are. You should definitely consider a dog tag because they make it very easy for someone to identify your dog and their contact information immediately on sight. You can make custom dog tags at your local pet store for an affordable price. You can also write your phone number on the collar itself as a precaution.
3. Teach ‘Come’ And Stay’
Two essential commands your dog must know are ‘Come’ and ‘Stay.’ With these two commands, the probability of your dog getting lost is less likely. Whether you are taking your dog for a walk, are at the park, or going for a drive, there is a chance your dog could see something they find exciting or interesting and take off. If your dog knows these commands and recognizes you as their leader, they will stop. Knowing these commands not only can keep your dog from getting lost, but they could even save your dog’s life–for example, stopping them from running into a street of cars. It is important to teach your dogs these commands starting from when they are puppies.
If you own a dog, that means you must own a dog leash. Having a leash is a fundamental part of having a dog. There a variety type of leashes for different types of dogs and different environments, so make sure you find the right fit for both you and your dog. If you are in an open area but still want access to your dog from a distance, you can get a retractable leash or a long leash. These provide the dog more freedom while still keeping them safely attached to you. However, if you are going for a walk in the park where other dogs might be present, you should have a shorter leash with more control so you can regulate your dog with more ease if for example they try to go after another dog.
5. Secure Yard And Home
One of the most common ways a dog gets lost is when they escape your yard. There have been plenty of times people will find dogs wandering their neighborhood and mistake them for strays, when really they accidentally just got out of their own property. If you let your dog in the yard, make sure you have double checked the fencing around your property. You want the right height fence depending on the size of your dog so they can’t jump over it. And even if they can’t jump the fence, your dog still might be able to dig its way out. A good way to prevent this is with rocks or chicken wire lining the bottom of the fence. Also, to prevent your dog from squeezing through the fence, check for any lose panels that your dog can fit through.
6. Spaying Or Neutering
Not only is spaying and neutering important to prevent overpopulation and keep more dogs from ending up in shelters, but it’s also key to keeping your pets from wandering off and getting lost. When male dogs are not neutered, they have a higher tendency to seek out females because of natural sexual behavior. This means that an unneutered dog is more likely to wander off from your home and get lost trying to seek out female dogs, leading to more risk of getting hit by cars. Neutering your dog takes away this instinct, making your dog calmer and more reliable, preventing further behavioral problems. Your dog will also be a better protection dog because they are not worried about roaming the streets to mate.
7. Pay Attention
The simple yet vital act of paying attention to your dog is the easiest way to prevent your dog from getting lost. There are plenty of times when you’ll take your dog out, whether it’s the park, for a walk, to a restaurant, to a friend’s house, and more. It is important that wherever you take your dog, pay attention to them and their surroundings, especially in unfamiliar locations. Also, be sure to never leave your dogs tied to bike racks, parking meters, or fences, while you go into a store. Your dog could easily slip out of its collar and get lost. It is essential your dogs are always in eyesight of you. Even when your dog goes in your own backyard you should know exactly where they are. You wouldn’t leave your child unsupervised, so why should you leave your dog unsupervised?
8. Car Safety
An easy time for dogs to escape is when they’re in the car. Your dog could easily run off when you open the car door. Some dogs could even escape if you open the window too far. Be aware of your dog’s typical behavior and figure out what works best. If your dog has a tendency to stick its whole body out the window, be sure to only open the window half way or three quarters. Similarly, if your dog gets easily excited when you open the door, make sure you leave their leash on. That way you can prevent the problem before it even happens. Doggie harness seatbelts are also helpful in making sure your dog is safe and secure. Finally, do not leave your dog by itself in the car under any circumstance. Not only could your dog could die from heat stroke on a hot day, but someone could actually break into your car just to steal your dog.
You should have all of your dog’s documents and papers organized in one area with easy access. If your dog were to get lost, the fastest way to quicken the process of finding them is having all your information together. Proof of ownership such as vet documents, shelter information, photos, vaccination records, and more can make it easier to not only prove you are your dog’s owner, but also make it easier for those who might have found your dog such as shelters or rescue groups. You should keep handy your local shelter’s address and phone number along with a recent photo so you can put up flyers with what your dog looks like at the current moment.
10. Inside Safety
It is perfectly healthy and normal to let your dog go in the yard for outside time, to use the bathroom, and to play, but when you are not home, they should be indoors. It’s important to make sure you keep your dog inside when you’re not home so your dog doesn’t get loose by mistake. A common problem is people thinking dogs are strays when really they’ve just escaped from their house and can’t get back inside because no one is home. Also, if you have small dogs be extra aware, especially at night, because of predators like coyotes, hawks, and mountain lions. Lastly, don’t leave dogs outside alone while you are sleeping. When it’s time for bed, everyone should come inside.
Do you have any tips to prevent your dog from getting lost? Let us know and leave a comment below.