When it comes to your pet, the last thing you want to think about is losing them. Unfortunately, lost pets are all too common—especially in the summer months, when frequent travel and big celebrations pose flight risks for your pet.
According to a recent study, a family pet is lost every two seconds in North America. While more than 10 million pets are lost each year, only one in 10 pets is found. Alarming as these statistics may be, there are plenty of ways to prevent lost pets—and awareness is key.
To help spread the word and keep pets safe, July was dubbed National Lost Pet Prevention Month. In honor of this important annual cause, we’ve compiled five easy ways to protect your pet from getting lost this summer and beyond!
1. Ensure your pet has up-to-date ID tags
At a minimum, any outdoor pet should wear basic identification tags on its collar listing your pet’s name and your contact details—whether that be your address or phone number, or those of your veterinary clinic.
Recently moved? Got a new phone number? Don’t forget to update your pet’s identification information too! These details should be clear and easy to read to ensure your pet gets returned to you safely and speedily in the event of separation.
Important Note: Depending on who locates your lost pet, you may be required to show proof of ownership to recollect your furry friend. Be sure to license your pet with your local authorities to obtain the proper paperwork for your pet.
2. Prioritize proper training
Sure, no pet is ever going to be perfect, but training your dog or cat from a young age to respect boundaries and tolerate collars is a great way to cut down on unnecessary risk. Many pets flee when they’re afraid, so building trust while discouraging bad behaviors early on will have a major impact on keeping them safe in the long run.
3. Find the right fit for your pet’s protective gear
Given that pets come in all shapes and sizes, protective accessories like leashes, harnesses, and collars are not one size fits all. Most brands will include recommended measurements on their product packaging, but different breeds will require varying levels of support and sturdiness too. Loose collars can slide off, and delicate straps can bust open under strain—so stay mindful of that and try to test new items in a secure spot before venturing outdoors.
4. Secure your pet’s environment
Whether or not your pet is an obvious escape artist, take all necessary precautions to secure your home and any off-leash areas in your yard. Screens, fences, and even baby gates can be useful here, but watch out for the diggers! Want to let your rabbit out in your backyard? Consider cordoning off a secure play area with an exercise pen, or rig up some chicken wire to prevent any digging away under your fences.
Important note: Be cautious during off-leash dog park visits and moments of transport—like to and from a vet appointment—these are high-risk moments for pets to flee out of fear or excitement.
5. Talk to your vet about microchipping your pet
Unfortunately, even with all these preventive measures, accidents do happen and you can’t always protect your pet from getting lost. In the face of the unthinkable, your main priority becomes reconnecting with your furry friend—but how?
Microchipping your pet is a great way to significantly increase your chances of reuniting with a beloved pet in a timely fashion should you ever be separated by some unforeseen emergency. Feel free to discuss the details with your local vet to learn more.
You love your pets like family, and taking these preventive steps can help ensure their safety and security no matter the season. Have questions? Get in touch with your veterinary practice today!