Dogs and cats are curious creatures and are prone to flee through open doors unexpectedly. My cat Bouie the Burmese is a great escape artist but luckily he only flees far enough to hide behind the bushes at the front of our house. If you are patient eventually he will casually stroll out from the other end and you can catch him. Otherwise we have to fight the bushes to find him amongst the branches! We need to take special precautions if we are expecting guests, the pizza guy, or just going out to collect the mail. Bouie just always seems to know when that front door is going to be opened.
If you have a pet that would also love to explore the great outdoors you also run the risk of the loss of your pet – unfortunately they don’t all know the way home. You should take the following measures to reduce the risk of loss your pets should they ever escape:
1) Have your pet micro-chipped by your veterinarian and registered with the Home Again or similar service that keeps a database of the chip number and your contact information. In the event of the loss of your pet the chip can be read by any veterinarian, rescue organization, or animal shelter. A chip is more reliable that a collar and tag as the collar or tag may be lost before the pet is found. A micro chip is implanted under the skin of pets shoulder so cannot be lost or damaged.
2) Ensure pets wear collars at all times with a metal or plastic tag that is engraved with your phone number and home address. It is also a good idea to place the pets rabies tag on their collar as this will bear the name of your veterinarian.
3) Invest in Pet ID cards that bear a photo of your pet and their physical details such as eye color, weight, breed, age, and distinguishable features. You can find these online for a low cost at Safety Identification Products.
4) Keep a recent photo of your pet on file so that you can quickly put together lost pet posters around the neighborhood. Take a front and side shot and close up and also record distinguishable features so that you can easily include these on the posters. Put the flyers up at post offices, grocery stores, animal shelters and local vets.
5) Keep a list of the contact numbers for your local animal control offices, animal shelters, and pet rescue groups so that you can refer to it quickly in an emergency.
Dogs can also escape from a leash or harness so be aware of your environment when you are walking them. Distractions such as squirrels, cars, joggers, or other dogs, can envoke the curiosity of your dog and they may pull away from you unexpectedly. Make sure you wrap the end of the leash around you hand rather than just holding the leash through the loop to ensure these sudden jerks are not able to pull the leash from you.
If you are a pet professional remind your clients of these steps in your newsletter or a informational flyer. They will thank you for the reminder!