Guest Commentary by Alessandra Navidad, Arizona Animal Welfare League
Did you know one in three pets will become lost at some point during their life?
According to American Humane, every year approximately 10 million pets are lost in the United States and millions of those end up in animal shelters across our country.
One of our biggest fears as pet owners is that our pet will become lost. We do our best to keep our pets safe and secure, but we can’t always control every situation. Here are four precautions to help protect your pet from getting lost and bring them back home safely if they do.
1. Pet proof your home
One of the more common ways for a pet to get lost is by escaping their yard, so it’s important to secure your fence and check for any holes that your pet could get through.
You also never want to leave your pet unattended in the backyard for long periods of time because they may try to dig a hole or even learn to jump the fence.
2. Teach simple commands
Make sure your dog knows a few basic commands like “come” and “stay.” If your dog knows these two commands, it will help decrease your chances of your pet getting lost.
If your pet gets loose at the park or on a walk and knows what “stay” means then they may be more likely to stop when you call for them instead of continuing to flee.
3. Keep them secure
Always keep your pet on a leash when they are outside of an enclosed area. Pets can easily get spooked or distracted by something in their environment, which can cause them to flee.
I know you may think your pet will listen or knows to stay near you, but you can’t always control the situation, so it’s better to keep them on a leash when you are outside your home.
The same goes for when you are in the car with your pet. It’s best to keep them either in a secured pet crate or loosely tie their leash to the car seat. If there is a car accident, it will help keep them from running away in fear.
4. Microchip your pet
A microchip is a permanent form of identification for your dog or cat that is embedded under your pet’s skin.
It stores a unique code that can be scanned by animal shelters or vet offices to pull up your contact info, which makes it easier for you to be reunited with your pet in case they become lost.
Make sure that you keep your contact information up to date. And don’t forget to keep for your pet’s ID tag up to date too!
Losing your pet can be heartbreaking, but pets with microchips and ID tags are much more likely to be reunited with their families.
These simple precautions will help keep your pet safe and hopefully decrease their chance of becoming a lost pet. Worst case, if they do get lost then their microchip and ID tag will help bring them back home.
About the author
Alessandra Navidad is president and CEO of the Arizona Animal Welfare League. visit aawl.org.