When you bring your furry friend into your household as a new addition, you are doing so with the understandable assumption that they’ll be with you until their final days of life in the future.  However, part of achieving that goal is going to be literally having them in your house.  Lost pets are a too-common reality for many well-intentioned families, but a pet on the loose doesn’t have to be an on-going problem!  Here’s what to do if you lose your pet and how to prevent losing them in the future!

What to do if you lose your pet

If your pet gets off its leash or simply escapes the fence like the professional that they are, then there are a variety of things that you can do to help them find their way back home sooner rather than later!  However, time is of the essence.  Here are some tips to bring back your dog as soon as possible with as little distress — on both sides — as possible!

Put something outside which smells like them

A lot of lost pets struggle to find their way back home because they can’t always figure out where home is.  While it seems illogical since it makes sense to us where home is, animals work differently.  You can help speed up and ease their return by putting something outside which smells like home.  The best thing for that would be a dog bed or a blanket that they love to lie on.  This scent will help them find their way home and to safety.

Check all of their favorite spots

When pets are scared, they will go to those spots that are most familiar and safe for them.  If your pets have certain places that they go to, check all of those places!  They might be hiding out in their favorite park or near a particular fire hydrant.  They are going to be looking for a safe space while they figure out what’s going on, after all.  Whether near or far, check those favorite spots to find your pet’s likely hideout!

Enlist help from friends and family

You’ll want to have your friends and family help you in searching for your lost pet.  Have people help that know your pet, and can both recognize them and know how to approach them if they find them.  The more that can help you check those favorite areas, the better.

Check local animal shelters and rescues

Don’t forget about local animal shelters and rescues.  A good Samaritan may find your lost pet and bring them to a shelter so that they are reunited safe and sound with their family. That shelter will keep a record of the information, so even if it’s been a few days, they can check their records to see if your dog was turned in.

Don’t forget to check online, too, since there are a lot of “lost and found” groups on all of your favorite social media channels!  

How to prevent losing your pet

Prevention of loss is always going to be the best approach to helping keep your family whole from start to finish.  If you are looking for ways to keep your furry family members safe and sound forever, here’s how you can keep them from getting lost in the first place!

Get them microchipped

The first thing and best way to keep your dog or cat recorded as part of your family is to get them microchipped.  This is a scannable ID tag that is inserted into their skin and records your contact information that can be scanned if someone finds your pet, so that they can call you and tell you where your pet is.  These are tiny and inexpensive and safe for dogs and cats- they are also worth the peace of mind.  You may as well use modern tech to help you track your pet!  You can also find smart GPS systems, too, that clip to their collar and allow you to look up information on where they’re located.  These depend on your dog having on their collar, however, of course.

Keep your microchip information up to date

Whenever you change your email, phone number, or address, don’t forget to update the information that you put in the microchip registration.  There are so many lost pets that aren’t reunited with their families simply because their family forgot or neglected to update their information on the microchip website!  It’s important to check this with your vet when your pet goes in for a visit, making it a regular part of your yearly upkeep for your pet.  

Reinforce obedience training

Obedience training can be a very important part of getting your pet safely back into your loving arms!  Seriously.  If they get off their leash and start to run, a firm command to “come” or “sit” can give you the opportunity to clip them back on.  Likewise, if you see them while searching and tell them to “come,” and they do, they’ll be easy to clip onto the leash and go home!  It’s great for really knowing that you’re doing everything you can to keep your pet firmly under your control.  

Assume your pet is an escape artist

One more thing you can do to prepare is assume that your pet is going to try to escape as soon as they get the option to do so.  Check your fence, especially those gates, and focus on making sure that you are always watching your pet and their movements.  If you are preventatively watching for an escape, it helps minimize chances of mishaps!  If you need to get advice from other pet parents or vets, and other professionals, ask for it. It’ll make the difference, and it’ll never not be worth it!

No one wants to ever have to deal with losing their cat or dog, so these tips will help you find your pet as soon as possible with as little stress as possible, or even better, keep you from losing them.  At the end of the day, this is the goal that matters most, so focus on making sure that it’s a priority!

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