Every year, countless pets go missing and get separated from their beloved families, causing much anxiety and heartbreak from both sides.
So, this month of July, we are celebrating National Lost Pet Prevention Month – a holiday dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of minimizing lost pets and keeping them safe in the loving homes of their families.
Continue reading below to know more about this important holiday and a few essential ways to prevent lost pets.
What Is National Lost Pet Prevention Month?
National Lost Pet Prevention Month was launched by PetHub in 2014. It was designated in July because the country sees a huge increase in lost pets due to Independence Day celebrations and summer vacation plans during this month.
Did you know that the 4th of July weekend is the busiest for shelters due to the number of lost pets they have to take in?
As a matter of fact, Mark Jakubczak, Founder of PetAmberAlert™, says that the nationwide statistics show that only 14% of lost pets are properly identified and returned to their owners. And about 30-60% are sadly put down because they cannot be properly identified.
And don’t forget the vacations families enjoy over the summer! Dogs who travel with their families to be on vacation get disoriented in new environments and can flee because of distress.
Due to these circumstances, PetHub has introduced National Lost Pet Prevention Month in 2014 to raise awareness and drive an in-depth conversation about our responsibilities of keeping our pets safe at all times.
The holiday creates opportunities for pet parents to learn from industry experts about different tips and strategies to prevent lost pets, and to connect with other pet parents across the country.
5 Reasons Why Dogs Get Lost
Statistics show that 10 million pets are lost every year. And that one out of three pets will be lost during its lifetime.
Understanding the reasons why dogs go missing will help you as a dog owner know what preventive measures to take to ensure their safety.
So, what are the reasons why our beloved pooches get lost? See below to find out!
1. Unsecured Property
Having insufficient security measures for your property is a common reason why dogs get to escape home and later, get lost.
Your property’s security should match the size and ability of your dog. Investing in a higher wall and a fence with no holes is a must. That way, your furry friend won’t be able to escape the property in any manner, whether it’s jumping over or digging under the fence.
2. Unfamiliar Environment
As mentioned above, when dogs come with their families on vacation in places that are foreign to them, they can become disoriented. This will in turn, make it difficult for them to navigate their surroundings and increases the likelihood of them getting lost.
3. Lack Of Supervision
In connection with the reason above, when you leave dogs in unfamiliar environments, especially when they are unleashed and unsupervised, they can easily get disoriented, stressed, and lost.
Furthermore, there are times when a dog’s curiosity gets the better of them when you leave them unsupervised. And then they end up exploring strange places, making it difficult for you to find them.
4. Fear Or Anxiety Due To Loud Noises
Like us, dogs experience fear and anxiety. And for our furry friends, fireworks, loud noises and thunderstorms trigger this in them. This causes dogs to escape in an attempt to find safety and relief.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), nearly one in five lost pets goes missing after being scared of loud sounds like fireworks and thunderstorms.
5. Wrong Choice Of Leash
Your choice of leash and/or collars can save your dog from getting lost. This is because dogs can slip out of their collars if they are not properly fitted or is too loose.
6 Ways To Prevent Lost Pets
Most dog owners say that loosing a pooch is something that will never happen to them. But statistics say otherwise. Because 64% of those that the ASCPA surveyed said that they never anticipated their pet getting lost.
And while there are many circumstances that are out of our control, there are still a lot of simple yet effective ways to reduce the chances of your dog going missing.
So, in honor of National Lost Pet Prevention Month, we have rounded up six effective ways to prevent lost pets. See them below!
1. Microchip Your Dog
Microchipping is a permanent and effective way to identify a dog, especially if they ever get lost or stolen. With a microchip, a dog will be easily identified and the chances of them being returned to you is high.
When microchipping a dog, a tiny microchip is quickly and simply inserted under a dog’s skin with a needle. The microchip then gives your dog a unique code that when scanned, matches to your contact details.
However, microchips are only as useful as the contact details attached to them. So, this National Lost Pet Prevention Month, make sure to update all those information in the database where you’re registered to.
2. Add An ID Tag On Your Dog’s Collar
This National Lost Pet Prevention Month, PetHub reminds us that while it’s helpful, microchipping your dog is not enough. At times, people are more likely to approach dogs that wear collars, because it signifies that someone owns the dog and that it is lost.
When adding an ID tag to your dog’s collar, make sure to add your phone number, address, and microchip number (if possible). And ensure that the contact information is legible.
And to reduce chances of your dog getting stolen instead of being returned, add any allergies, health problems or if they’re spayed or neutered on their ID tags. This will deter thieves and they’ll most likely bring the dog to you or to the vet.
3. Dog-Proof The House
A dog-proofed home is essential to your dog’s overall safety. Evaluate your home and see what needs dog-proofing.
A few dog-proofing tips include making sure that the doors at home are securely latched and are not left open at random times of the day. Another one is adding pet-proof screens to windows. Some dogs are natural escape artists and will use any opening to get out of the house.
Furthermore, if there isn’t one yet, install a fence that is tall, sturdy and has no gaps or holes in your yard. This ensures that your dog can play in the yard freely and cannot escape through it.
4. Leash Train Your Pooch
Another thing that PetHub highlighted during the 2022 National Lost Pet Prevention Month was training and enrichment. And one essential training your dog should have is leash training.
Whenever you go outside with your dog, putting it on a leash is a must. But sometimes, this is easier said than done, because dogs, if not properly trained, will pull on a leash.
So, you have to train your pooch not to pull on their leash while they’re outside. This way, you can ensure their safety at all times. Sometimes, even the most well-trained and obedient dogs can get tempted to chase an animal or explore on their own when they’re in a public, unfamiliar place.
With the right leash and training, you’ll be able to safely bring your pooch outdoors with no problems.
5. Practice Pet Travel Safety
Another National Lost Pet Prevention Month topic that can help prevent lost pets is practicing pet travel safety.
When you travel with your pooch this summer, make sure that they are secured inside a high-quality crate inside the car. Furthermore, getting a harness for your dog will help because these are much harder to wiggle out of than a collar.
And when you’re outside, skip any off-leash activities. Off-leash activities might work when your dog is in a familiar environment, but the same cannot be said when you’re traveling. So, ALWAYS put your dog on a leash and never leave them unattended.
6. Engage With Your Community
Engaging with your community and familiarizing them with your dog can be helpful in the unlikely event of them getting lost.
If your neighbors regularly see you and your dog around the neighborhood, they’ll be more than likely to alert you if they suddenly see your pooch roaming alone. The help of a community is invaluable if you need to track your dog.
What To Do If Your Dog Is Lost
Sometimes, even with the most meticulous plans, accidents can happen. So, here are a few helpful tips in the unlikely event that your dog goes missing:
- Act fast! Do not wait and hope that your dog will find its way home to you. The sooner you look for them, the better chances of finding them.
- Engage with the community. Search the neighborhood and let your neighbors know that your dog is missing. Creating and posting missing flyers with a clear photo of your dog will also help.
- Use social media. Post a photo and all the necessary details of your lost dog and share it on social platforms like Facebook. You can also utilize virtual communities like Nextdoor.
- Visit websites dedicated to lost pets. There are a lot of lost pet directories online that can help you with your search. You can find a few of them here.
- Contact and visit the nearest shelter. Sometimes, it’s difficult to describe your dog over the phone, so it’s always best to contact AND visit your nearest shelter.
- Contact the microchip database. Inform them that your dog is lost and ask them to notify you if anyone ever tries to change your dog’s details.
- Contact your local animal control agency and all agencies in surrounding areas.
Loosing a dog is a heartbreaking and dangerous experience, for both the dog parent and the dog. Even the thought of it can be dreadful. This is why we always have to ensure our dogs’ safety at all times.
This National Lost Pet Prevention Month, let us not put our guards down when it comes to our dogs’ safety. Let us spread awareness of the importance and responsibility of keeping your dogs out of harm’s way at all times.
Do you have any other tips to keep your dogs safe at all times? Share them with us below!