Lost Dog and Other Pet Loss Prevention Tips

Losing your pet is an incredibly worrying and, unfortunately, common experience. It only takes the smallest opening, a slightly opened door or an unlocked gate, for even the most well-trained dog or cat to make an escape.

As veterinary practitioners and pet lovers, we understand the anxiety that comes along with a missing or lost pet. So we have created the following guide on preventing pet loss, and the tools you can use to help recover lost pets.

How Often Do Pets Get Lost?

According to Whistle, roughly 10 million pets get lost every year. That is greater than the population of New York City!

Put another way, Whistle calculates that roughly 1 in every 3 pets will get lost in their lifetime. And even more alarming, nearly 90% of those lost pets without proper ID or microchipping will never return home.

These are startling statistics to say the least, but the best we can do is to think about preventing pets from getting lost in the first place.

How Can I Prevent Pet Loss?

  • Secure your pet’s borders: Keeping pets safely secured, in a home, a yard, or on a leash, is a vital first step in ensuring your pet does not wander off.
  • Be alert: Always be aware of your pet’s whereabouts when you enter or exit your home and yard, as many pets enjoy stalking the doorway, waiting for a brief opening to escape.
  • Be aware of circumstances: The above is especially true when company is over, as your visitors might not be as cautious guarding the doorway as your family members, and the extra commotion around the house might make your pets nervous and even more inclined to attempt an escape.
  • Provide a safe space: Fireworks can also spook your pets enough to have them run off – in fact, more dogs go missing on July 4th than on any other day of the year. To counteract this, make sure your pet has a quiet place to relax, far away from the commotion – and from the doorway.

What Can Help Me Recover My Lost Dog or Cat?

  • Collars and tags: Requiring no special equipment to read or operate, the advantage of a collar and tag is that anyone can locate and call the number on a tag. The downside, however, is that dog and cat collars can fall off or easily be removed, so it’s not a foolproof method of identification.
  • Microchips: The size of a grain of rice, microchips are implanted under the skin of your pet. Most shelters and veterinarians have microchip scanners in-house, designed to read the unique series of numbers contained on the chip and access your pet’s information, as well as your contact information, from a database. Be sure to keep your contact information updated in the microchip database so you can be easily contacted if your pet is found.
  • GPS trackers: These devices use satellite technology to pinpoint the location of your pet should they get lost. Some devices even send alerts to your mobile device if your pet leaves your property, so you can know the moment they run off and hurry to find them before they can get into trouble.

Need More Information?

Contact your local veterinarian if you have any other questions about your pet’s health and safety, or consult our Pet Health library. You can also learn more about microchipping and its role in preventive care.