July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month, so we would like to highlight the ways you can prevent your beloved pet from getting lost!
Microchip your pet.
Thanks to technology, a microchip is the size of a grain of rice and administered under the skin between a pet’s shoulder blades. When a chip is properly registered it contains the owner’s contact information. Should your pet become lost and taken to a vet’s office or shelter, a scanner is used to see if the animal has a chip and then the owner can be contacted. It is important to understand that a microchip is not a tracking device. It is also imperative that if you move or change your phone number, that you update the contact information with the microchip company.
A microchip could mean the difference between being reunited quickly or waiting for days, weeks or months in a shelter, rescue or someone’s home hoping you will find your lost pet. According to the AVMA – American Veterinary Medical Association’s website, “A study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time. (Lord et al, JAVMA, July 15, 2009)” For microchipped animals that weren’t returned to their owners, most of the time it was due to incorrect owner information (or no owner information) in the microchip registry database – so don’t forget to register and keep your information updated.
Microchipped pets are reunited with their owners frequently. In April 2019, a 2 ½ year old German Shepherd named Cedar was reunited with her Southwest Ranches family after being stolen from her home at the age of four months. Found injured in a ditch by law enforcement in Colorado, Cedar was taken to a vet office where a registered chip was located by the scanner. She was flown home after she recovered.
Have up-to-date licenses and ID tags.
Make sure that your pet wears current license and ID tags at ALL times. Licensing is done through your county or your veterinarian. ID tags are available from many places that sell pet supplies, including the Pet Boutique at the Humane Society of Broward County. Be sure to keep a written record of the tag numbers; this information is essential in the event that your pet should become lost.
Use a secure collar or harness.
A secure collar or harness is essential in preventing your pet from becoming lost. Be sure to purchase the correct sized collar or harness for your pet and ensure that it fits snuggly to prevent them from slipping out. A wide selection of collars, harnesses and leashes can be found at the Pet Boutique here at the Humane Society of Broward County.
Other Tips and Hints
Keep your pet properly confined at all times: either indoors or in a securely-fenced area. Check routinely for holes between and under the fence, loose gate latches, etc. Be aware when service people visit your home or yard; they may leave gates open. Remind family members to keep doors leading outside securely closed at all times.
Have a written description (size, weight, color, markings) and current photos of your pet on hand. Be sure to leave this information, along with license and ID tag numbers, with anyone entrusted with the care of your pet while you are away.
If your pet should get lost.
GET THE WORD OUT! Even if your pet was wearing tags, there is always a chance that they were lost or that someone took them off. Consider making and posting flyers in shopping centers, on telephone poles, in veterinary offices, pet stores, and grooming parlors in your area. Include a detailed description and the name of your pet. Your pet will be more likely to approach a stranger if called by name. If possible, include a clear, reproducible photo. Provide a copy of the flyer to mail carriers, newspaper carriers, utility service people, etc.
For more information on lost and found pets, click here.