4 ways to prevent pets from getting lost

4 ways to prevent pets from getting lost

Summer is all about fun in the sun—especially when your pet is there with you. But there’s another side to the season.

A lot of pets get separated from their owners during summertime events. A slipped collar, open window or unexpected squirrel chase is sometimes all it takes.

Fortunately, the steps you take now to prepare for that possibility can affect how quickly you can be reunited with your pet. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Prepare your home
What is the difference between an animal rescue organization and an animal sanctuary? Animal rescue organizations often specialize in one breed of dog or cat (for example, golden retrievers) or one type of animal, such as cats. On the other hand, animal sanctuaries are usually created to help endangered species recover or to provide homes to exotic animals, such as big cats, that can't be adopted as house pets.

Don’t let your summer backyard party turn into a fur-ightful debacle.

Before guests arrive, make sure all gates and windows are secured. Consider posting reminders to your guests that there are pets inside, and they need to be mindful about closing doors and gates. This is doubly important when fireworks may be going off in the neighborhood, and frightened pets may act out of character.

2. Ensure proper ID
Maximize the ability to be reunited with pets: make sure your pet wears a durable collar with up-to-date contact information on identification tags.
Purchasing a collar and tags can be a fun family outing: Take your children with you to a local pet store and let them help you select the perfect pet collar and ID tag design.
There is a special quick-release collar made for dogs and cats; in case of an outdoor escape (or an incident indoors), the collar will snap open under pressure in the event your pet becomes entangled around the neck.

If your pet does get out, proper ID is their best ticket home. As part of your summer prep, be sure to:

  • Always keep identification tags current and easy to read.
  • Offer a reward on the tag.
  • Include any medication information.
  • Get your pet microchipped.
3. Offer a quiet retreat from holiday fireworks
When you adopt a pet at your local animal shelter, be prepared to fill out a pet adoption form before you're accepted as a potential pet parent. The animal shelter will ask you questions about your family, if you already have pets and what kind of living conditions you can provide. Don't become offended. The shelter just wants to ensure their pets are guaranteed a safe and loving home.
The shelter may have conditions on adopting out a pet to a family with too many pets already living at home, or if they believe the pet may not be a right fit with young children. They may also want to know if you are settled into a home without plans to move frequently, and if you have a fenced yard or a kennel to safeguard the pet when outdoors. The shelter is looking out for the welfare of the pets in their care when they ask these questions, so answer honestly. Let them know if you have prior experience with animals.

A lot of pets are very afraid of fireworks. Dogs and cats have very sensitive hearing and may not understand that the sound they hear is very far off in the distance. As a result, hundreds of pets every year get out or injure themselves trying to get away from the thundering booms.

The best protection against fireworks fear is a quiet, safe retreat indoors for your pet. Offer a comfortable space, either in a crate or small room, with familiar smelling blankets and toys to retreat and relax. It often helps to close the windows and play calming music or white noise to drown out the sound. Also, if you can, stay with anxious pets to offer comfort until the fireworks end.

If fireworks are very stressful for your pet, consider veterinarian-prescribed sedation, and be sure to have medication on hand before noisy holidays.

4. If your pet gets out, act quickly!

There’s no time to waste when you realize your pet goes missing. Quick action makes a safe, injury-free return home more likely. Here’s your game plan:

  • Post lost pet listings on social media with your location, recent pictures and a description of your pet.
  • Create flyers with your pet's picture and reward info.
  • Check with all area shelters and veterinary practices, not just the closest.
  • Report your pet as lost to the microchip registry.

Talk to neighbors, get the word out at local businesses and, above all else, keep looking! Lost pets, especially microchipped ones, can be found days or even weeks later. The wider and more complete the net you cast is, the better.

When it comes to lost pet prevention, a little preparation goes a long way. Hopefully, you’ll never have to search for a missing pet, but if the unexpected happens, every step you take now can help to bring your four-legged friend home quickly.