We’ve all seen heartbreaking missing dog posters of owners offering rewards for the return of their beloved pet. According to the American Humane Association, about 1 out of every 3 pets go missing at some point in their life, and approximately 10 million cats and dogs are lost every year. Only 15.8% of dogs and 2% of cats that make it to the shelters are reunited with their owners. July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month, so we’re taking this opportunity to look at how pets go missing and outline some simple ways to prevent a lost pet emergency.
How Did My Pet Go Missing?
To prevent a lost pet, the key is to understand what causes a dog or cat to escape and become lost. Below are some of the most common reasons why household pets go missing:
Unfamiliar surroundings can cause your pet to explore new smells and distractions. If you plan on moving, be sure to keep an extra eye on your pet’s behavior while in the transition period.
Easy Escape Access
This seems obvious but animals are natural explorers, so if there’s an easy way for them to escape, they’ll find it. Unlocked gates and holes in fences are some common ways pets escape their homes.
If you’ve ever had an intelligent and energetic dog, you’re well aware that they’re highly inquisitive. Whether opening doors, digging holes, or jumping over fences — if left alone for too long, they’re always up to something. It’s not necessarily because they want to escape, but because they’re seeking stimulation. Naughty dogs are often bored dogs.
Desire to Hunt
Some types of breeds, such as hounds or pointers, inherit a strong desire to hunt which increases their risk of escape. It may start off as a squirrel chase, but if there’s a will, there’s a way-out. If your dog is inclined to be on the hunt for birds and squirrels, be sure your backyard is extra secure.
Fear of Loud Noises
Pets who have noise anxiety, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, will run away to seek shelter in fear of danger. Statistics show that the Fourth of July has more lost dogs than any other day of the year.
Animal abduction is an unfortunate reality for many pet owners. An estimated 2 million pets are stolen every year. Pets may be stolen simply because of their breed, like purebreds and fighting dogs.
Ways to Avoid a Lost Pet Emergency
The best way to help reduce your pet’s risk of going missing is by being prepared:
Make sure your animals have an identification tag on their collar
Pets that wear ID tags are significantly more likely to be returned to their owner. It’s also important to have updated information on your pet’s ID tag.
PetFetch makes it easy for finders of lost pets to anonymously connect with pets owners. Each tag is engraved with a unique code that is linked to your pet’s digital profile. You can add your pet’s picture, contact information, and any medical or behavior information that people should know.
Microchipping your pet is extremely helpful for animal shelters to identify your pet if they happen to get loose of their collar or if their ID tag falls off. Most vet clinics schedule simple, low cost microchip appointments. To microchip your pet, find a local vet near you by downloading the Pawprint App.
Regular Exercise and Entertainment
Keeping your dog stimulated will decrease the chances of them getting up to trouble. Different breeds have different needs, so the amount of exercise your pet requires will largely depend on their specific (breed).
GPS Tracking Smart Collar
Smart collars with GPS technology allows owners to track their pet’s location wherever they are. Typically, the smart collar will be linked to an app that you can use to see the location of your pet. Keep in mind, a smart collar is not a replacement for a microchip, but should be used in addition to the microchip which stores important information about your pet.
Secure Yard Fencing
Ensuring your pet can’t escape seems obvious, but it’s one of the most common ways dogs escape. Wood fences are better than chain-link as some breeds are able to easily jump over chain-link fences. Look for gaps in the fencing and fill in any holes that your dog may be able to use to get out.
Plan of Action for Anxiety
If your pet is frightened of loud noises like fireworks or thunder, it’s important to know what to do. First, you’ll need to be able to recognize signs of anxiety. Once you understand their stress, start trying remedies to calm them down. Just like people, many pets benefit from using holistic Hemp and CBD oils to help them relax.
Avoid Leaving Your Dog Unsupervised
A large majority of dogs go missing when unattended. If you need to tie up your dog outside of a shop or store for a quick minute, you’ll want to keep an eye on them or ask someone nearby to watch them while you’re inside.
Lost Pet Prevention Starts with You!
No one ever wants their pet to go missing. So this year, celebrate National Lost Pet Prevention Month by taking the right steps in ensuring your pet is safe and that you have all the necessary tools to find them quickly in case they do escape.