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Do you know what’s more devastating than discovering that your pet is an escape artist?
The feeling of guilt that comes over you each time you recall what you could have done differently, but didn’t.
Fortunately for you, you are not there yet!
But, who knows when you’d be. Tomorrow, next week, or a year from now?
No one can tell when their pet will go missing, and that is precisely why I wrote this article – to show you what you can do to prevent your pet from getting lost. And, if you lose your pet sometime in the future, these tips will help you get back your missing pet without much stress.
So, how do you protect your pet?
Let’s look at how you can protect your escape artists while they’re indoors.
How to protect your pet while it is indoors.
It is easy to become complacent about securing your pet if most of their time is spent indoor. However, these simple steps are enough to prevent them from escaping as well as improving the likelihood of getting them back if they do.
1. Get a collar with ID tags.
As obvious as it seems, may people forget how important it is for a cat or dog to have a secure collar with an ID tag.
Like most other things, collars tear, wear down, and become loose over time. It is important to always inspect your pet’s collar for faults and replace them ASAP.
But that’s not all.
Ensure that the information on your pet’s collar is always up to date because you don’t know when your pet might bolt out through the front door and never return. Especially, if you’re moving with a cat to a new home.
An updated collar makes it easy for a stranger to identify your missing pet and contact you immediately.
2. Microchip your pet.
If the collar you wore your pet goes missing, how can a stranger that found it know who to contact?
Normally they won’t!
However, many people have been reunited with their lost pets thanks to microchip technology. A microchip is a tiny implant the size of a grain of rice, that is injected under the pet’s skin.
If your pet goes missing and is turned over to a vet or shelter, they will scan the chip then look up the contact information for the owner.
This can help you get back your dog or prove ownership if someone else claims your pet. But, this step and the previous one are not enough to prevent your pet from getting lost if your pet isn’t secured. So…
3. Secure your yard and home.
Having a secure yard and home doesn’t do much if you have an outdoor cat.
However, for those that don’t, having a secure perimeter around your property is a good way to prevent your pet from getting lost.
Many times, people mistake a dog roaming the neighborhood for a stray when in reality, they just escaped their own territory and can’t find a way back in.
If your pet is allowed to play in the yard only, then you have to ensure there are no holes in the fencing. This isn’t a one-time check, since some pets are pretty good escape artists, you have to check periodically for gaps and dug out/tunnels.
The height of the barrier should be twice the size of your pet so they don’t jump over. And make sure there’s no object they can stand on and scale the fence.
When stepping out of the house, ensure to close all doors as soon as you’ve passed through them. If there is a door you often forget to close, especially those that open outside, you can install self-closing hinges to help you close them.
4. Study your furriend’s personality.
Get to know what your pet’s personality is like.
Is your dog the type that’s anxious when he hears loud noises, for instance, those from fireworks, thunderstorms, etc.? Or does your kitty scratch at the front door when she spots a squirrel, bird, or rodent through the window?
5. Monitor your pet with a security camera system.
Having a security camera in place can help prevent your pet from getting lost. And at the same time, can deter criminals from breaking into your home.
With a security camera in place, you can confirm what happened while you were absent. And, if the worst should happen and your pet goes missing, you will have an idea which direction they went, how and when they escaped, and lots more. This alone gives you valuable insight on where to start the search.
How to protect your pet while you’re outside the house.
Your pet is no longer confined by the doors, walls, and fence you had in place. Neither are they monitored by the security camera so you need to find a way to control our pet’s movement. Here’s how you can do that.
1. Keep your pet on a Leash.
On the surface, a leash and harness seems like a pet accessory only dog owners would have and use. However, cat owners ought to have one too, in case the situation calls for it.
For instance, when traveling with your cat in a carrier, a leash and harness act as a precaution. That’s because a frightened cat may run off as soon as the carrier door swings open.
Besides, a lot of people actually take their cats for a walk around the block.
Leashes come in a variety of styles and designs for different dogs (and cats). Make sure to find a comfortable fit for you and your pet.
2. Never lose focus on your pet.
If you are going outside the house with your pet, then it is your responsibility to make sure they’re safe.
But how can you do this when you don’t pay attention to your pet?
The simple act of watching your pet’s body movement is the easiest way to prevent them from going missing. Especially in unfamiliar locations where the stimulus is new and difficult to ignore.
Do not leave your pet in the car even for a moment, or tie them to parking meters, bike racks, or fences while you ‘quickly get something.’ They could get stolen or slip out of the collar and get lost.
Many of the lost pet cases are just bored pets that found a way to escape from their confinement. And, according to statistics, over 1.5 million dogs and cats get stolen yearly from those same spots owners think are secure.
If you wouldn’t leave your child unsupervised, why would you treat your dog any different? If you won’t be available for some time, get a pet sitter, get some toys for your cat, and sturdy toys for your dog.
We’re humans, slip-ups happen sometimes. How can you protect your pet in case you accidentally lose sight of him/her?
3. Use pet GPS.
A microchip and collar will increase the likelihood of finding your pet if it gets lost. However, some pet GPS devices, such as the Whistle Go Pet GPS can pinpoint your pet’s exact location. Other GPS devices will let you know when your pet is moving away from you.
4. Bring outdoor pets in before nightfall.
Pets, especially outdoor cats, enjoy roaming at dusk as part of their normal routine. However, this is neither safe for them or the environment.
Small cats are at risk of getting attacked by mountain lions, hawks, coyotes, and other predators looking for their evening meals. But, if your cat is a prolific hunter, you’ll wake up to the sight of dead animals at the foot of your bed or in the kitchen.
You can protect your cat and the environment by bringing her in before nightfall. Do not let your pet roam outside the house while you’re asleep.
When it is sleep time, everyone sleeps.
If your cat is bored and needs to hunt, you can solve that problem by offering her some entertaining cat toys to play with.
Before we move to the next section I have a small request.
Other tips that help prevent pet loss.
1. Spay or neuter your pet.
Spaying and neutering not only prevents overpopulation of stray roaming the streets and those in shelters, but it also keeps pets from wandering off and getting lost.
Pets that are not neutered or spayed are more likely to seek out mates of the opposite sex to reproduce with – it’s a natural drive. This puts the animals at risk because they wander far away from familiar territories and may have difficulty finding their way back home. Plus, they are at risk of getting hit by vehicles.
Spaying or neutering your pet eliminates this urge to find a potential mate, thereby making a cat or dog well-behaved. It also reduces the risk of testicular and breast cancer in animals.
2. Keep your pet’s documentation somewhere accessible.
If your pet went missing and you came across a pet that looks like yours, but someone else claims to be the owner, how would you prove ownership?
You need to organize all your pet’s documents and papers in a place that can easily be accessed.
Collect photos, vaccination records, microchip info, adoption papers, vet documents, shelter information, and other documents that can prove ownership.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can talk to a vet about getting a DNA fingerprint of your dog saved somewhere. DNA proof of ownership can even be used in court if someone else is claiming ownership of your dog or cat.
Having these in place makes it easy to prove that your pet is actually yours.
3. Train your pet.
Consider training your pet to obey simple commands.
Dogs are fast learners and cooperative to training compared to cats, however, cats can still be trained to obey commands.
Training dogs and cats can be quite challenging, but if it is done with patience and commitment, the results are truly rewarding.
4. Train the humans too!
Sometimes your pet might not be 100% at fault for getting lost.
Someone might leave the door open, your pet can get startled and run off, or maybe the kids lost sight of max.
Make sure everyone understands the rule and adheres to it.
If you have to print them in bold letters and paste around the house when you have visitors, then do it. Protecting your pet is your number one priority.
If you do not trust the people around to adhere to instructions, you might as well lock your pet in a secure room.
Your pet is yours to protect and keep safe.
I know no one expects to lose their pets. However, very few of us take the time to prevent such from ever happening.
By following the tips outlined in this article, you can prevent your pet from getting lost. But, even if that happens you are more likely to find your missing pet in little time.
Do you have any tips that prevented your pet from getting lost? Let us know in the comments below!