No one ever plans to lose their animal! It's not something anyone wants, but accidents happen. Doors get left open, a screen blows out of a window, children leave a door open a second too long. Accidents happen, and it only takes a moment for your sweet furry friend to head off on an adventure without you.
With a little bit of planning ahead of time, you can make sure you're reunited as quickly as possible!
1. Put a collar and tag on your pet! Custom tags are inexpensive and available from all major pet stores. If you'd rather make a statement, consider checking out the handmade tags available on Etsy. If you'd prefer to skip the jingling, consider an embroidered collar, or a tag that slides onto the collar. An easy-to-read tag makes it simple for someone in your neighborhood to return your dog or cat straight to your house, without having to jump through any hoops. If you're concerned about safety, consider using a safety collar or breakaway collar.
2. Microchip your pet! Most organizations are now microchipping animals before adopting them out. Ask your veterinarian to scan your pet for a microchip if you're not sure your pet has one. Be sure to keep your pet's microchip information updated with your current address and phone number! If your pet were to get lost, any vet clinic or animal shelter can scan your pet and use the associated information to contact you. You'll have Fido or Fluffy home in no time!
Did you know that POPP has a microchip clinic coming up? See more details here.
3. Have current photos of your pet! We all have a multitude of photos of our dogs and cats being adorable, but it's important to make sure that you have well-lit, clear photos that accurately show your pet's markings. This will allow you to easily post photos to craigslist and online groups for lost pets, as well as quickly make up flyers to post in your neighborhood. There's nothing more frustrating than staring at a dark and fuzzy image and trying to decide if that photo is of the cat we've just found!
4. Teach your pet to come when you call for it! This sounds easier said then done, especially when it comes to cats, but keep reading! It doesn't have to involve you standing upright, crisply issuing a command, with a prompt response, As long as you have some sort of cue that you're reliably reinforcing, you've got another tool to help you keep from losing your pet. It can be a treat bag crinkling, asking your pooch "Want to go for a car ride?", or just making ridiculous kissy noises. Take the time to reinforce that response now! That way when your pet has slipped out the door, you have one more tool at your disposal to help get them home safely.
5. Know who to call! Time can be of the essence when your pet has disappeared! Your local animal control should be your first phone call. File a "Lost Report," so that if your pet is brought to animal control, they know someone is missing it. Next, call your vet, along with any other veterinarians in the area your pet was lost. Most people will bring a found animal to the nearest vet to be scanned for a microchip. Next up: your local humane societies, animal shelters, and pet rescues. By covering all of your bases, you're more likely to be successfully reunited with your fuzzy friend.