It’s estimated that roughly 10 million pets become lost in the U.S. each year, and the vast majority never return home. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year when shelters fill up even more with lost pets who escape during summer festivities. However, with our pet loss prevention strategies, you and your companion can avoid a heartbreaking situation.
Effective Pet Loss Prevention Tips
There are some things you can do in your home and yard to make sure your pet remains safe and secure.
Survey boundaries – Every so often, walk the perimeter of your property, and check for any points your pet could escape. Repair fences and gates and take any other precautions to make sure your yard is secure.
In and out – Whether it’s a gardener, delivery person, or contractor, most of us have times when others come in and out of our yard. Be aware of these times, and make sure your pet is secure indoors or in a separate room where they can’t escape. Leave notes on gates and doors to remind others of your pet.
Windows and screens – Many cats love to sit on sunny window sills, so make sure your windows and screens are safely attached. Even agile cats can (and do) fall!
Proper ID – All pets should wear a collar and current ID tags. Microchipping is also recommended, even for indoor pets. A microchip is a tiny device implanted under your pet’s skin that can never be lost or stolen; it’s the best way to ensure a happy reunion should your pet ever become lost.
Out and About
Some pets love to go out with us, and it’s our responsibility to protect them. Here are a few tips:
- Never leave your pet tied up outside a store or unattended in a car, even if it’s locked and the windows are rolled down.
- Keep your pet leashed when out and about.
- Spay or neuter your pet; this makes them less likely to roam.
Teach Your Pet
“Pettiquette” dictates that our pets wait at the door when it’s opened before running out. But is this a reality? It only takes a split second for your pet to rush past your legs and bolt out the door. To help prevent pet loss, teach your dog to wait at the door. Here are some tips for success:
- At the door with the leash on, say “wait.”
- Open the door about 1-2 inches.
- If your dog tries to go out the door, close it (be careful not to close it on your dog’s nose!).
- Repeat this until your dog hesitates.
- Once your pet hesitates, use the release word “ok,” and open the door wide to let your dog through.
- Once your dog is waiting consistently, open the door a bit wider each time; repeat your release word once your pet waits.
Start small, be positive, and exercise lots of patience. In time, your dog will learn to wait before running out the open door.