Losing a pet is always a stressful time for the whole family, pet included! Below are some tips on keeping your pet safe.
*Properly fitted collars and leashes are a MUST when you own a dog! As a groomer, I see dozens of dogs a week with ill fitted collars, chewed up leashes or wearing nothing at all. No matter how "well trained" your dog is, they should never be taken in public without a properly fitted collar and flat nylon or leather leash. Retractable leashes are for park play or potty time, not safe restraint. Also, TAGS! There is no excuse for not having an engraved tag on your pets' collar. City and vet tags are useless for immediate identification purposes.
*Padlock gates. Don't depend on others to respect your yard gates. Repair men, delivery people, utility people, neighbor kids, all may enter your yard and not close the gate. Eliminate this possibility by keeping gates padlocked and people out of your yard without you present.
*Check fences regularly for damage. High winds, vandalism, digging, etc can all damage fences without you realizing it until your pet is gone.
*Before putting your pet in a carrier to take to vet or groomer or boarding, be sure all the bolts are tight and secure. I've seen many pets, especially cats, escape from carriers that are falling apart.
*Secure your pet when in a vehicle, even if inside a kennel. Many pets bolt out of kennels or cars and run off before their owners can react. With a properly fit collar and secured leash, this is less likely to happen. There are many dog seat belts out there, as well as pet barriers.
*If your pet tends to run out doors when doors are opened, take a minute and secure them in a room or kennel when you have company. Don't trust others to be aware of or watch your pets when in your home.
*Keep cats inside (with the exception of farm cats). It is illegal to let your cat roam outside in the city, and dangerous for them. If you want your cat to be outside, be responsible and build a secure outside coop for them to get fresh air without roaming.
*If you tie your dog up outside, be sure their collars fit securely and the tie up is not chewable. Don't leave them outside unattended. If you have a breed that is hard to fit a collar on without slipping, check out martingale collars or harnesses. Microchip your pets in case they do slip out of their collars.
*If you own a pet bird, keep their wings clipped so they cannot fly properly if they startle or get loose from your home.
*If your pet is scared of loud noises, secure them inside in a room or kennel during storms, road work, or celebrations. Be proactive and do this when the event starts. They will feel more secure in a darkened, familiar and secure room than allowed to roam agitated and potentially bolt.
*Fix your pets!! Unfixed male pets can smell females in heat from miles away. Unfixed dogs and cats instinctively roam. If your female is in heat, do not leave her outside unattended to entice male pets Fences are no deterrent for a male dog that smells a female in heat.
*Never think it won't happen to your pet. Even the most well trained dog can't be trusted to never react to a squirrel or decide to wander off. Protect your pets and keep them secured when outside fences areas.
By Seri Dukart - Groomer
Missing or escaped pets is a very scary thing. However, many pets are reunited with their owners all the time due to diligent actions on the owners part. That's you! Below are some steps to take the moment you notice your pet is missing.
Call the local police department and report your pet missing. People who find missing pets often call the authorities first thing to see if the pet was reported as missing.
Please GO to your local pound and LOOK at the animals. How you describe your animal and how the pound describes your animal may be two very different things! Pounds and shelters are often not well organized and run on volunteers. Don't trust the word of the pound/shelter staff…go look for yourself and take a photo of your pet with you to leave with them, with your contact information on the back.
Check with neighbors in the immediate area. They may have seen which direction your pet went. Cats especially are often found trapped in garages or sheds nearby, accidentally. Ask neighbors to keep an eye out for your pet.
Leave blankets or clothing with your scent on it in the area where your pet is sighted or escaped. They may use their sense of smell to return to that spot as it is a familiar scent.
Put up fliers, call the radio stations, use facebook and local groups. Post on other local classified websites. Take a flyer with information to the vets and inform them in case a good samaritan brings in an injured pet that is yours. Other pet professionals like groomers, pet stores, kennels, day cares, etc are also good places to call and give a description of your pet.
Fliers can be posted at the grocery stores, pet store, grooming shops and vet offices. Be sure to take them down when your pet is found.
When posting an ad or flyer or post, be sure to include CLEAR photos without humans in the picture if possible, and lots of information. Describe temperament and colors and markings. An accurate description of unusual markings will help people be able to identify a pet as yours and cut down on instances of false sightings. Include information about the area lost in. Include your contact information and name. The more information you include, the more likely it is that people will be able to help you find your pet.
Ask for a reward! Most pet loving people won't accept an award for helping you bring a beloved pet home, but it will help those non-pet-loving people be interested in looking in hopes of collecting the reward.
When your pet is safely home...go to your local pet store, vet or farm supply store and get a tag printed with your contact information. Every dog should at least should have a tag on their collar. No excuses! Vet tags and city license tags do not have immediate contact information on them, which can delay or prevent someone from contacting you. If your pet gets tags caught on things, consider having an embroidered collar or purchasing a flat tag that slides onto the collar.
By Seri Dukart - Groomer