Prevention is key!
Nobody intends to lose a pet but it happens more often than you might think.
- A cage latch may not be secure or a collar not tight enough.
- New people like baby sitters, pet sitters or even friends unintentionally provide escape opportunity right past their legs as they enter a home.
- One of the biggest mistakes is thinking we have established a strong bond with a new or rescued pet in a short amount of time. Even to pets we have a long standing connection with, they can be so overwhelmed to their senses when exposed to new environments, they only see a chance to explore or flee. We at LPTD see it so often (after all, it's what we do!) that we have compiled a few tips to help keep you and your furry friends together:
First and foremost, always assume your pet is a flight risk in new or stressful situations (like car transport) even if you think you know everything about that animal! Remember, though we love them dearly they are animals and they have instincts.
- Ensure your equipment is working properly and can handle any abuse from a frightened, stressed or otherwise active pet. Make sure collars are snug (cannot even be close to slipping over the head!) and have all information needed to return the pet to you should it become lost. We recommend collars with metal buckles (plastic can and does break!)
- Use a harness! Harnesses encompass a larger portion of a dog and are far harder to slip (this does not mean Step-n-Go or No Pull Harnesses).
- Avoid using retractable leashes. The internal components can break under stress but more importantly, they allow a dog a freedom of distance from you and it teaches them that they can venture off without you. A dog might wander off, following an interesting scent or chasing a tempting critter, only to turn around and realize it isn't connected to you after all! This is true for even basic obedience training.
- Have an updated picture of your pet that is clear and defined. Posters often make the difference in locating a lost pet so your picture should be as current as possible. Take a new picture at least once a month.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped. If a kind citizen finds your lost pet and takes it to a local shelter, the first thing they are likely to do is scan for a chip to find the owner!
- Have a specific scent article in the unfortunate event that your pet does become lost. This should be something no other pet has used. We will have a follow up post on Specific Scent Kits.