“One in Three” pets go missing in their lifetime. That is a horrifying statistic!
As pet parents to two phenomenal dogs and one sweet kitty, one of our family’s most heart felt fears is a pet going missing either while we are traveling or for some other unforeseen mishap.
We feed our animal the best food that we can afford, attend to their vet needs every 6 months as advised, train them to listen to us… But there will be times that dogs will be dogs and cat will be cats!
My conversation today is about our dogs. When we take them to our local pet park, we have observed many times how they run and play freely. Sniffing out all kinds of doggy aromas. The become oblivious to only tracking as many scents as possible. Moving constantly. Sometimes locating themselves far at the other side of the park… And then watch them as they suddenly remember– they were with us!?!
Their heads raise up. They search, eying every corner of the park. They spot us and run like the wind back to their pack leaders.
But that is a controlled environment where you are maintaining control over your dogs, but they just don’t know it. They don’t understand the fences are still giving you control. And those fences are nowhere to be seen when we are not at home or in a play area like the pet park. Our dogs just always see that innate invitation of the undiscovered open field or new places to sniff. Those are seductive invitations to our pups, who do not understand the difference of a controlled or an unsafe environment.
Some dogs are natural born escape artists who have honed their skills well, just to get to taste that freedom of discovery. Some are patient and wait until a door is left ajar…maybe a hotel room door? Or a car door? New scents just pull at them so much stronger than your grasp on the leash sometimes. So many opportunities are there just ‘to be a dog’!
Here are a list of things every pet parent should do in order to prevent separation from your dog and mechanisms to employ to have your pet returned to you quickly, if separation happens:
- 1. For security, collar your dog with a metal buckle collar, as opposed to a plastic buckle. See this sample buckle collar taken from Foster and Smith’s Catalog Buckle collar your dog with his tags even when you use a harness or control collar. Harnesses and control collars do not stay on the dog permanently. Always stick 2 fingers between your pet and the collar to assure it is not too tight. See our Niecie’s picture down below.
- 2. Maintain up to date tags identifying your pet and your current information. Invest in a rabies tag from your Vet when your pet is vaccinated. The control numbers on the rabies tag identify your Vet, giving another opportunity to have your pet safely returned to you. Tags should contain your cell phone number for strangers to quickly locate you.
- 3. Always leash your dog when away from the home. Your pet should be leashed before the door is opened. Pet trainers recommend a 6 foot leash dog, but a 4 foot leash can be used. Retractable leashes are great for your pup’s walk but should be used with caution as pedestrian and vehicle traffic is hazardous away from home and your neighborhood. A 4 or 5 foot leash will keep your dog close to you under unfamiliar conditions. Never use a rope or a chain to wrap around your pets neck as a leash. This endangers your pet and can harm them.
- 4. If you have a yard for fido, always do a fence check to assure that all of the boards are secure, or the chain link is not broken leaving a hole for your escape artist to use.
- 5. When traveling in the car, always tether your dog’s leash to a locked seat belt. Or better, use a travel harness that attached to the seat belt. A great example of a product is called the Kwik Connect Harness sold by Foster’s and Smith (We just LOVE the folks there!). They show a video depicting how easy it is to use.
- 6. Invest money in a GPS system such as a TrackR for your dog’s collar. You can track where he is via your cell phone.
- 7. Chip your pets. Give your pet a chance to be reunited with you if they do escape. Have you read the stories of how a pet had been found 3000 miles across the country because they were micro chipped? Keep your address and phone number up to date with the microchip company. An example of a great microchip company is Home Again. But your Vet may recommend another great Microchip brand as there are a few on the market today.
- 8. Don’t let your dog be mistaken as a stray. Mark them with a high visibility travel vest, such as the Traveling Pet SHONVest(r).
This vest will alert others quickly that your dog is somewhere that he should not be. It can carry your itinerary, telling strangers what hotel you are staying at and provide alternate contact information. Your dog can also carry his medical story and medications that can save his life, until you are reunited.
Sometimes it is best to prepare for the unimaginable and take the extra efforts to keep your pet safe.
We always mark our dogs, when traveling with them in the car–
Just in case they decide to be dogs!