Have you ever experienced the helpless and terrifying feeling of frantically searching for your lost pet? Maybe they got lost in town when they darted out the front door; or in the woods while out for a walk. Perhaps you were on vacation and they were lost in an unfamiliar environment. Pets may become frightened in places and around people they aren’t familiar with, or when they hear loud noises such as fireworks. No matter what the situation was, after your pet was found, we bet you took steps to prevent it from ever happening again; as well as making it easier for them to be returned to you. July is the perfect month to talk about this as many people are vacationing with their pets or spending much more time doing outdoor activities with them.
First and foremost, it is important to try to eliminate the chance of your pet getting away from you in the first place. Whether you are at home or vacationing somewhere, it is very important to keep a collar or harness with pet identification tags on your animal. Make sure the collar cannot be easily slipped over the head and that the pet tags have your pet’s name, your name, and your phone number on them. If your pet has had a rabies vaccination, keep that tag on them as well. These typically have your vet clinic’s phone number on them, as well as an identification number that can be traced back to you in their system. Keep a leash on your dog when in an unfenced or unfamiliar area, especially when there are other dogs in the vicinity.
More and more lost pets are being reunited with their families due to the known effectiveness of “micro-chipping.” A microchip is a very tiny device (about the size of a grain of rice) that can be implanted under your pet’s skin with the equal simplicity of a routine vaccination. Each device has a unique identification number that can be read by using a small handheld scanner possessed by most vet clinics and animal shelters. The implantation process itself, however, is just the first step. The second, and very important step, is that you enter your pet’s microchip number, along with your name and contact information, into a “pet recovery database”. (You will be given information and instructions for this from the vet clinic or shelter that placed the microchip). It is crucial that you keep this information up-to-date so you can be located in the event your pet gets lost. On the flip-side of this, if you ever find a stray animal, take them to your local vet clinic or shelter and ask them to scan the animal for a microchip. You may be able to play a part in reuniting a pet with its owners!
Another identification technique, although not as popular, is tattooing. Some owners will actually have an identification number tattooed on their pet in the right ear as it is easily visible. This number is put in a pet recovery database the same way a microchip number would be with the owner’s contact information. As aforementioned, this technique is not as popular. It is more difficult to find a facility that will perform this procedure.
As a reminder, make sure your pet is safely secured as we enter into the “fireworks season”. Although we think they’re beautiful and fun, our pets typically find them terrifying! A happy pet is a safe pet! J