The American Humane Society estimates that about one-third of all dogs and cats go missing, about 10-million annually in the United States. Almost 80% are never found and millions wind up in animal shelters. Here are a handful of steps you can take to keep your pet from being lost or stolen.
1. MICROCHIP YOUR PET
The Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association reports a higher rate of animals being returned to their families if they are microchipped. Only about 22% of dogs not microchipped are returned to their homes. The return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs is over 52%.
To date, just 58% of microchipped animals have been registered in a database with their owner’s contact information.
2. GET A COLLAR WITH ID TAGS & REPLACE WORN OUT COLLARS
Many pet owners either do not purchase or regularly check their animal’s collar and ID tag. Loose collars can fall off and, over time, become torn and wear down. It’s important that you check your pet’s collar to make sure it’s still in proper shape.
ID tags make it very easy for someone to identify your pet and quickly get your contact information on sight. Make sure to include your pet’s name and your contact information on the tag.
3. TEACH YOUR DOG TO ‘COME’ & ‘STAY’
With these two commands, the probability of your dog getting lost decreases substantially. While older dogs can be taught these commands, it’s important to teach them ‘come’ and ‘stay’ when they’re puppies.
Not only will these two commands help your dog from becoming lost, but they could prevent it from running into a street of cars.
4. KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH
If you have a dog, then you’ll need to have a leash. There are many different styles of leashes available, but make sure that you buy the leash recommended for your breed of dog and its weight.
Not only is it the law, but you also keep it from chasing other animals, like squirls or chipmunks, and it prevents it from trying to go after other dogs.
5. INTRODUCE YOUR PET TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD & YOUR NEIGHBORS
Hopefully, if your pet does roam, they’ll be able to find their way home. Also, if you make the point of introducing your pet to your neighbors, they may recognize it if it’s lost and return him/her.
6. SPAY OR NEUTER YOUR PET
Not only is spaying and neutering important to prevent overpopulation and keep more pets from ending up in shelters, but it’s also key to keeping it from wandering off, ‘rendezvousing with a neighbor’ and getting lost. It can also make your pet calmer and more reliable.
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