A pet parent's two most dreaded words - LOST PET!
No matter how careful and responsible you are there is always the possibility of a pet getting lost. Slipping out an open door, someone left the gate open, breaking a collar or leash or even a car accident, the possibilities of your pet getting lost are endless.
While panic is your first response it is counter productive so having a plan in place will keep you focused on bringing your pet home.
First is be prepared. Prepare for the worst and expect the best. Like insurance you buy it in the hope you will never need it.
Rabies Tags ~ Required by law, for dogs, as proof of vaccination but the owner can be traced from the number. Keep in mind that this information can only be accessed during normal business hours of the agency that maintains rabies vaccination records or the veterinarian that vaccinated your pet.
I.D. Tag ~ Keep an I.D. tag on your pet with current information. Make sure the phone number is one where someone can usually be reached or a person, that sees or finds your pet, can leave a message. If your pet is missing put that information on your outgoing telephone message so if someone calls with information they will know they have the right number.
Temporary I.D. Tag ~ If you are taking your pet on vacation with you have a tag made with your cell phone number and a landline contact number where you are staying. If you are leaving it with a pet sitter, friend or family member while you are gone purchase an new temporary I.D. tag with their contact information.
Personalized Collar ~ Purchase a collar that can be personalized with a contact number so if the tags were to get caught or tangled on something and pulled off your contact information is still available. Also consider collars with reflective qualities to make your pet more visible after dark.
Cat and Collars ~ Because of the nature of cats, climbing over, going under and squeezing through small spaces it can be risky to put collars on cats. On the other hand not having I.D. on them is also risky. If you choose to put a collar on them make sure that it is a breakaway collar and test it to see if it will breakaway when pressure is applied. There can be malfunctions in the best of products and better to be safe than sorry. Also make sure the collar is not too snug but snug enough to ensure that they can not get it hung in their mouth or get a leg through the collar. There are lots of reports of cats being injured or killed through the improper use of collars.
Microchip ~ A microchip is permanent pet ID. A veterinarian simply injects a microchip for pets, about the size of a grain of rice, beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. It is read by passing a microchip scanner over the pet’s shoulder blades. If your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or veterinarian, they will scan the microchip to read its unique dog or cat ID code. This is the number used to identify the pet and retrieve your contact information, which is used to contact you and reunite you with your pet. IMPORTANT ~ register your pet and always keep your information updated!
Current Photo and Description ~ Keep a current photo and description of your pet and preferably keep one on your computer as this will allow you to quickly make flyers with a picture to print or email. You can make a lost pet flyer on the Best Friends website and save it on your computer. You might also consider an email group made up of email addresses of your local Animal Control, shelters, rescues, veterinary clinics, groomers, pet food stores and animal welfare yahoo groups. This can save you time but don't just rely on email, make calls and go to as many places as possible to post your flyers.
What do you do when a pet is lost?
What to do when your pet is found?