6 Pet Safety Tips to Keep Your Furry Friends at Home

Cat and dog

Keep your pets from disappearing forever. (Photo courtesy Canva)

We love our dog Henry, but every now and then he has a tendency to pull a Houdini and escape. Once, while I was cooking, I left him napping by the back door only to get a call from a neighbor who found him playing with her daughter down the street. Another time, I was washing laundry and left him napping on the sofa. Twenty minutes later I get a phone call from a different neighbor saying that he was sitting patiently by the entrance to the dog park awaiting entry. So what can we do as pet parents to keep our furry children at home? Here are six tips that might just keep them from getting lost for good.

Personalize your pooch. Remember that every dog needs one great accessory, a wide collar that is easy to see and difficult to slip out of. Although you can get a cute little dog tag to hang from his collar, those can fall off or fade. The solution? Get a collar that is embroidered with his name and your phone number. Better yet, make sure that the collar itself is reflective so when they go for a midnight stroll through the neighborhood, they are easier to see and less likely to get run over. Chewy, L.L. Bean and Orvis all offer this type of collar, and all between $19 and $30.

Never go naked. Even when your pet is at home or in the yard, they should wear their collar. As we know from our own dog’s shenanigan’s, they don’t always slip away when you expect them to, so that collar is a godsend and it is important to never let them go without it. For those times when they do vanish, however, it is important that you have your pet microchipped. Most rescue animals are microchipped prior to adoption these days, but if yours isn’t, you can take your pet to your local veterinarian or animal shelter to get a microchip injected under their skin. Just remember to renew the microchip registry each year and update it with all your current contact information. We use Home Again which costs $20 per year, but there are other options out there, including Avid and PetLink.

Search ASAP. If your pet disappears, start searching immediately. Time is of the essence, especially if you live near a busy street where they are likely to get hit. Grab your animal’s favorite treats and start calling their name, asking neighbors if they’ve been seen, or even alerting your whole neighborhood via apps like NextDoor. Although our pooch will typically approach anyone who seems remotely friendly, some animals are skittish and won’t approach if chased. So plant your tuchus on the sidewalk and just call them calmly, offering their favorite snacks. Some we use are Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Tasty Chicken Recipe Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats and Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Treats Sweet Potato and Bison Formula Treats. Henry loves both of these and will do pretty much anything for a nibble.

Kitty Finder. Fortunately, cats don’t typically wander as far as dogs do, especially if they are normally kept in the house. If they do escape, however, be sure to ask your neighbors if you can look in their yards, sheds and porches to see if your cat may have hunkered down in one of those locations, just out of sight. You can also track your feline by tagging their collar with a tracking device that emits a low radiofrequency that can be detected on a lightweight handset like Tabcat, which can be purchased online for $100.

Photogenic Pets. Make sure you have a current photograph of each of your pets. You can upload these to social media sites like NextDoor and Facebook when they go missing, and it is also helpful to create a pet profile on microchipping sites like HomeAgain so neighbors can help you look where you can’t. Once you alert the microchip company that your pet is lost, they send out alerts to nearby neighbors via email so they can keep an eye out for you. Also, use these photos to make homemade signs to post at the veterinarian’s office, the animal shelter, and anywhere else animals may be spotted or taken if found.

Offer A Reward. If all else fails, offer a reward to encourage neighbors to help you locate your lost pet. Make sure each poster you create and website you list your animal on lists details about the animal’s physical characteristics and personality that may prove useful when a stranger locates them.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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