National Lost Pet Prevention Month: 5 top tips for keeping your pet safe
July is National Lost Pet Prevention month and serves as an important reminder that as pet owners, it’s our responsibility to make sure our pets stay safe. As pet owners and animal lovers, we want to help make sure you’re prepared and provide you with a few simple things that you can do to help prevent your cat or dog from getting lost.
Get them microchipped
If your pet gets lost and isn’t wearing a collar, a microchip will help ensure that you’re reunited with them. This is because they contain a number that corresponds to your details which are stored on a central database that can be accessed by a vet, warden or animal charity, giving them immediate access to important information like your name, address, and telephone number.
While it’s compulsory for dog owners to get their canine companion microchipped, the same can’t be said for cats but it might still be worth considering as it can provide peace of mind when needed most.
Secure your home and garden
Dogs and cats that are found without their owners can sometimes be mistaken for strays, so it’s important to keep your property safe and secure to reduce the risk of your pet being able to escape.
Any fencing needs to be free from any holes that your pet can fit through and tall enough to stop them from jumping over. This includes making sure there is no garden furniture close enough for them to get a leg-up!
For indoor cats, it’s especially important that your home stays secure as they can easily become lost if they’re not used to the outside world! Keeping doors and windows closed or on a latch can help keep them safe and sound inside of your home while a catio (an outdoor space that’s usually attached to a home which cats access through a window) will allow your cats to experience the outdoors in a controlled environment.
Find the right collar
It’s a legal requirement for a dog to wear a collar in a public place which must also bear your name and address. This helps make it easier for others to find your contact details if your canine companion was to get lost.
It’s important that their collar fits around their neck without being too loose or too tight to help keep them comfortable and safe while ensuring they’re not able to slip out of it if they were ever spooked while out on a walk.
Cats are a little trickier as some collars can cause injuries if they ever get stuck while out and about. Quick-release collars are designed to come undone if your cat finds themselves caught and can be a good solution to ensure they can be easily identified if they stray too far from home.
Get them spayed or neutered
Getting your cat or dog spayed or neutered not only prevents overpopulation, but can also help reduce the chances of them getting lost. This is because male pets tend to want to seek out females on heat due to their natural sexual behaviours meaning they might wander from your home and struggle to find their way back again.
Neutering your pet takes away this instinct, hopefully preventing any straying they’re going to want to do in search of a mate!
Paying attention may seem like a simple rule and might be something you already do but it’s honestly one of the most important ones when it comes to keeping your pet safe.
If you have a dog, you should pay attention to them and their surroundings wherever you go, especially if you’re exploring unfamiliar locations.
Whereas if you have a cat, it’s good to have a sense of your cat’s whereabouts throughout the day or at least learn their routine so you can have peace of mind knowing when to expect them home or where they may roam off to.
What to do if your dog is lost
If you've lost your dog, there are a number of things you should do to find them as quickly as possible. These include:
- Contact your dog’s microchip database and inform them that your pet is lost.
- This will help stop someone from being able to change your dog’s chip details.
- Contact local vets, kennels, rehoming centres and Local Authority Dog Warden.
- Someone might have found your dog and brought them in to be cared for.
- Ask around your neighbourhood and in local shops, pubs and cafés.
- Someone might have seen your dog but not know who it belonged to.
- Post a description of your dog on local Facebook groups or missing pet websites such as Dog Lost.
- Be sure to include any distinguishing features.
- Visit places where your dog is familiar with.
- They might show up at an old address or on a favourite walking route.
- Make sure that you act quickly to give yourselves the best chance of a reunion.
What to do if your cat is lost
There are a few things you can try to encourage your cat to come home if they’ve gone too far or for too long.
- Shake a box of their favourite biscuits around the time they usually come home.
- Leave some of their favourite food on your doorstep and listen out for their miaows.
- Try leaving their bedding or favourite toy in your garden or outside your home.
If none of the above works, they might truly be lost so try:
- Searching all the small spaces in your home or garden.
- Your cat may have gotten stuck!
- Talk to your neighbours or local delivery drivers.
- They may have seen your cat and can also check their properties for you.
- If your cat is microchipped, contact their database company to tell them your pet is missing.
- Contact local vets, catteries and rehoming centres.
- Someone might have found your cat and taken them in to be cared for.
- Post a description of your cat on local Facebook groups or missing pet websites.
- Be sure to include any distinguishing features.
- If you’ve recently moved home, do the same in the area you’ve moved from to ensure they’ve not gotten confused.