Few things are more heart-wrenching than realizing your dog has disappeared. Whether she scaled the fence and got out of the yard, was last seen chasing Bambi or jumped out of a car window, it’s something no dog parent wants to experience.
Yet, 1 in 3 pets will go missing in their lives.
Here are a few steps you can take to keep your dog safe and sound.
- ID tags – The simplest and most effective method yet a surprising number of pets are missing theirs. Make sure your pet’s tags are correct and legible. It doesn’t do your dog any good to sport an old address or have numbers scratched beyond recognition.
Plus, if you’re annoyed by the jingling of the tags, you can get a collar with the information embroidered on.
Microchip your pet. It’s easy to do, it’s not expensive (~$50) and will make it easier to identify your pet if he should go missing and be turned in at a shelter. Plus, it may put your pet into a pet recovery database – ask your vet about that.
- If your boy (or girl) has a history of running; you’ll want a GPS device on the collar. Then you can track him or her with your smartphone. You may also want a lighted LED Collar so you can easily spot him or her at night.
- Have up to date photos – In this era of Facebook, it’s likely your feed is filled with pictures of your cute dog but just in case…be sure you can access recent photos to share on Facebook with your shelter and make a few flyers.
Post your dog’s picture in your Facebook feed and ask your friends to share it. Many towns have at least one local Facebook Page and maybe even a lost pet group. This can be a great resource for tracking down your pet.
- Know your shelter – Speaking of resources, know where your closest shelters are and call them if your pet goes missing. Thousands of lost dogs end up in shelters every year and the staff has no way of re-connecting them with their owners.
It’s a good idea to call all the area shelters – even ones that seem far afield.
- Don’t leave your dog tied up outside alone. There’s the possibility of theft for one thing though that’s not the most common – especially if you have a larger dog. The most common is your dog gets frightened by a loud noise or unfamiliar surroundings panics and runs.
Sometimes the dog’s leash is tied around a patio chair which then noisily follows them down the sidewalk only adding to their terror.
Why Do Dogs Run?
Some dogs are simply escape artists, these you’ll keep a special eye on and develop strategies to keep them safe.
Strategies like never letting them off leash unless they’re in a fenced in area and taking doggie obedience classes.
Both are good ideas anyway.
One of the most common reasons dogs run is they’re in unfamiliar surroundings and/or with people they don’t know. They run off because they’re looking for you. So if you leave your pet at home with a pet sitter, make sure they do a “meet and greet” first, while you’re still home.
If you’re vacationing with your dog, this post can help you plan.
If your dog is running from you, it’s natural to chase them. That does one of two things. Either your dog thinks it’s a game and happily plays “keep away.” Or if your pet is already panicking, he’ll run faster from you.
If you and your dog have practiced basic obedience skills, you’ll have an advantage. Practice your recall.
However, if that doesn’t work, try to look calm. Sit on the ground; don’t look at your dog and act bored. If you have any treats, pretend to eat them and “accidentally” drop a few around you. Many times, your dog will get interested and come closer.
Breathe, don’t look at them. Don’t encourage them. Look at your phone or do something else to distract yourself.
Let your dog approach until you can safely grab the collar. If you lunge and miss, you’ll freak your dog out all over again.
What tips do you have for preventing lost dogs?