What to do if your pet goes missing and how to prevent it…

Spring is in the air! Warmer weather, flowers blossoming and pets wandering off. Happens to anyone, no matter how responsible you are sometimes the urges of our beloved companions are just to strong! It doesn’t have to a lost cause though, there are some steps you can take now to prevent it and in the event of it recover your pet quicker and safely!

“An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of cure”:

#1. Have your pet spayed or neutered. One of the leading reasons an animal “wanders off” especially males is to find a female(s) to mate with.

#2. Always keep a collar and ID tags on your dog/cat. Tags should have dogs name, up to date phone number and if a timid dog the word fearful or afraid, or any disabilities or special needs listed (ie. Deaf, blind, diabetic, ect…)

#3. Always keep a selection of up to date photos of your pets.

#4. Micro chipping is an excellent way to show ownership if your dog is lost. Do not let this replace a collar and tags though as not all places have a scanner. As this procedure gains popularity amongst the pet community the service is becoming more affordable and accessable!

#5. Proof of Ownership. As mentioned above micro chipping is an excellent way to prove ownership. Other techniques are to photograph and keep record of any special markings, patterning on the fur, marks in the mouth or on the tummy or ears. Have these recorded in the veterinarian’s file as well. It is also a good idea to keep up to date photos of your pet with the vet file. That way if your home is lost to fire or your photos are lost or damaged you can still access up to date photos.

#6. Introduce your pet to the neighborhood. That way if he/she is ever lost neighbors will know what he/she looks like and not only be able to keep an eye for them but possible be able to retrieve them for you! (a pet is more likely to go to a familiar face and scent than a stranger).

#7. Take special care to secure your yard. Fences should be high enough that your pet can not jump over them. There should be no holes or gaps that your pet can squeeze through. Gates should be securely latched. In the absence of a fence your pet should be on a sturdy leash that can not be broken or chewed! Better yet never leave your pet outside alone, use this time as a bonding time!

#8. Train your pet! Dogs can be trained not to cross certain borders (does not mean they should be left out alone and unleashed), cats can be leash and harness trained, parrots can be recall trained ect…

No matter how diligent you may be though, sometimes the unthinkable does happen, your pet disappears! Now what?

#1. It is helpful to have a plan already in place. Write it down. It will be easier to think clearly while you are calm rather than distraught because your companion has gone missing. Make a step by step list of things to do and people to call, be sure to include phone numbers. Be sure to include all of the following steps on your list.

#2. Call the micro chip company and report your pet lost. That way you can confirm your contact details are up do date.
#3. Call/Canvass your neighborhood. This would be a good time to put up flyers and check with neighbors.

#4. Call all the local pet stores, veterinary offices, shelters and groomers. Ask them if you can post a flyer in their window or waiting rooms.

#5. Call your insurance company (some pet insurance policies cover expenses such as flyers and rewards in the event of a missing pet)

#6. Place an ad in your local newspapers or the St Thomas Blog to report your pet missing, be sure to include a recent photo and any other relevant information.

#7. Be diligent and remain calm. Networking with friends, neighbors, and pet professionals can be your greatest tool in recovering your lost pet. Do not lose hope!

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