Losing your dog can be a scary and incredibly stressful experience for anyone. However, there are some preventative measures and planning that can ensure your dog makes it home safely in case of an emergency.
Preventative Measures You Can Take NOW:
Microchip and Register
Microchipping your dog is the most reliable way to ensure they can be located in the event that they become lost. Veterinarians will be able to scan and look up your information depending on which company your information is registered with. Therefore it is crucial to keep this information up to date and remember to update anytime you have an address or phone number change.
Collars and ID Tags
While your vet can just scan the microchip, if your dog wanders to another neighbourhood and is found by the local neighbourhood kids, you might just be a phone call away or a couple doors down. A quick and obvious way to ensure your pet makes it home safe is to keep a collar and ID tag securely on with your phone number or full address. Some ID tags can now even track your pet with a GPS! While these can be expensive, they are a great solution for peace of mind and security.
Check the Perimeter of Your Yard
Old boards in fences come loose, or hedges might be easy to slip through. Do a check up on your yard from time to time and make sure that there aren’t any holes starting to be dug under fences. Even if your dog isn’t a digger, some animals might have taken up a home in your yard and created an escape route for your pet. To ensure they’re safely kept inside, make sure the perimeter is solid from time to time.
Have a Plan
In any emergency, pre-planning is crucial. In case your dog is lost, have the number of the company they are microchipped with ready in an emergency pamphlet, along with your vets’ number and the local animal shelters.
What to Do When It Happens:
- Act NOW, don’t wait. The sooner you begin to get the word out that your pet has been lost, the better chance you have of finding them.
- Utilize your Emergency Plan
- Notify the numbers listen on your plan, the local vets, shelters and the company your pet is registered to that your pet has been lost. Check back in daily, often these points of contact will be the first to know if someone has brought your pet in looking for their owner.
- Make Posters with a picture and your animals name on it. This will help a good Samaritan call over your pet if they are trying to capture them to return them home. Offer a reward in the ad, don’t state how much and your phone number. This will help encourage people to return your pet to you and you can decide later how much to offer as a reward. You can also place a “LOST” ad in your local newspaper if you still haven’t found them the following morning.
- Go door to door or call your neighbours personally. Explain what your pet looks like if they’re not sure, or enlist them to help you distribute posters. The more people involved in the cause, the more successful you will be.
- Get out and get calling. If possible, keep someone at home near where your pet escaped from. There is a possibility that your dog may return home on there own so having someone to keep an eye out is crucial. In the meantime, you can take to the streets and begin calling your pet as loudly as you can. For safety reasons, it is best to do this on foot or on a bicycle as it can be distracting to drive while looking for your pet. If you want to cover more ground, take your car with a passenger to be the lookout and drive carefully and slowly. This way you can focus on driving and your passenger has time to spot your dog among the neighborhood.
- Post to Social Media! You’d be surprised at how many people will gather together to join the cause for a lost pet. Many pets have been found, surprisingly, through this form of communication. Spread the word and ask for support as much as possible.
- Be cautious of scammers, and ask for a description or picture if someone claims to have found your pet looking for a reward. It can be tempting to throw yourself at these offers, but false hope may be devastating if they’ve found another look-a-like-pet or worse, they are lying to receive reward money and do not have your pet.
- Most importantly, don’t give up! While time might seem daunting during this stressful time, keep on persevering. There are many resources in the community and people that can help, just keep getting the word out and checking in with shelters and vet clinics.
Written by: Rachelle Biever CPDT-KA