As parents of small children, we’ve all experienced the sheer terror of losing a child, even if it was just a brief moment of separation or they’ve left our sight for a minute or two. The same is true for lovers of animals, out of sight is definitely not out of mind when you’re a pet owner or a parent.
As responsible pet owners, we all understand the importance of microchipping, ID tags, even tattoos and should always keep current photos of our animals in case they’re misplaced. But there are some other, less obvious ways we can protect our pets from becoming lost or stolen.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when getting an ID tag for your animal, often the very first line engraved, their name. But this is actually the last thing you should consider putting on this important piece of identification.
Many experts recommend omitting this info altogether and simply putting your contact information on it instead. If your dog or cat is lost or stolen, the person finding or taking your animal does not need to know their name, just how to locate you as the owner.
If you have an outdoor animal, make sure any service providers you have are aware of the fact that you have a pet. Landscapers, swimming pool technicians, contractors and other workers that enter and leave your property should be aware that you’re a pet owner and be mindful of this important circumstance.
While the majority of them are professional and courteous, a simple slip of the wrist could leave your gate unlatched and give your animal an open door to the outside world. On the other hand, you should consider leaving your pet indoors on the day(s) your service provider arrives.
Especially if you live in a residential neighbourhood with other animal owners, get to know the other people in your community along with their pets. Often when an animal goes missing, they seldom get far if they’ve escaped from your home. Fellow animals lovers, aware of where you live and the identity of your pet, are your best chance for a happy reunion.
Back in the days before modern technology, a few of the only chances we had for finding our missing pet was posting flyers around the neighbourhood, putting an ad in our local newspaper and checking nearby animal shelters. But with the internet at our disposal, this opens up a huge online venue for posting an alert to hundreds or even thousands of our “friends” to be on the lookout for our pet.
Again, if you have an outdoor animal, be sure to check regularly for possible escape routes. Look for loose boards in fencing, places where they could be digging, faulty hinges or latches on gates. For inside critters, especially cats, ensure screens are tightly fitting inside their frames if you’ll be opening the window.
Be mindful of keeping exterior doors and windows closed at all times, especially after they’re opened. Quick cats and dodgy dogs can quickly dart out through an open door when we’re not paying attention to try to catch an unfamiliar creature. With a little planning, some extra care and attention, we can help ensure our pets remain home with us instead of wandering the streets.