July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month
July 1 @ 8:00 am - July 31 @ 5:00 pm
July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month, created in 2014 by PetHub, to give pet owners the information they need and to raise awareness about the estimated 10 million cats and dogs across North America that go missing every year.
Here are some tips on how to keep your pets safe.
Keep Your Dog or Cat on a Leash
One of the simplest and most practical ways to keep your cat or dog from straying is to keep him on a leash. Both cats and dogs are naturally inquisitive, and a seemingly short dash after a mouse or chipmunk may end up being a lost pet.
2. Secure Your Pet Within a Fenced Yard
Keep your pet safe at home with a fence around your yard. For wooden fences, make sure the boards are in good shape and tightly set in place to prevent your pet from creating an escape route by nosing apart any boards that are rotten or loose.
To prevent an escape by digging under the fence, make sure the fence is buried at least six inches into the ground and is tall enough to prevent your pet from jumping over it. Cats are amazing jumpers, so even though they are very small, be sure your fence is at least 6 feet tall. Also, keep any objects they can use as a springboard away from the fence.
While invisible fences will work for some dogs, they are not good for cats. Once a cat gets spooked, they don’t return for more. To train cats, positive reinforcement is best. They react particularly well to food. A shock is not a positive experience to the felines, and if they get out, they won’t be able to get back in.
Even dogs that are trained to stay within the boundary of an electric fence can run off if frightened by a thunderstorm, car back-firing, or firecrackers. The dog is then effectively locked out of returning unless willing to brave another electric shock.
3. Don’t Leave Your Cat Unsupervised
Supervision means more than making sure your pet is secured inside a fenced yard. It means not leaving your pet outside for long periods of time without checking on him.
Many lost pets are simply bored pets that have found a way to escape. So, periodically check on your pet. If you must leave for a few hours, consider tethering him in the yard (for added safety) or simply bring him indoors. If you must be away for an entire day, overnight, or longer, consider taking him to a pet daycare or hiring a pet sitter.
4. Check Window Screens
Cats love to swipe and claw at window screens when bugs, flies, and irresistible playthings come along, and cat claws are sharp. Wire window screens are usually claw-resistant, but cats can easily claw a rip in polyester and other types of window screening fabric. Check window screens often and repair any holes or rips as soon as they appear.
5. Have Your Pet Microchipped
Traditional pet ID tags remain an effective way for pets to be identified and returned home, and GPS pet trackers enable pet owners to find lost pets on their phones. Yet ID tags and trackers are attached to collars, and collars can become detached from pets. Your pet could wriggle free of his collar while squeezing through a fence or the pet-safe breakaway collar could fall off.
Microchipping your pet is a safe, reliable, and permanent way to ID your pet. About the size of a grain of rice, a microchip contains a unique number that identifies your pet. It is injected just under your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. It’s no more painful than a typical injection and can be done during a routine veterinary visit.
You need to register your pet’s unique ID number and your contact details with a microchip registry, and update it if you move or your phone number or e-mail address changes.
If your pet gets lost and is taken to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter, he will be scanned for a microchip to search for his unique ID number. That number will be called into a pet recovery service, and you will be contacted based on the information you provided in your registration.
Keep your cat safe. Be sure to check those screens. As you can see, even if the kitty is safe inside, he might find a way out. This goes for cats living in high-rise apartments as well. It also is a great idea to leash-train your cat, as an added safety measure. Be sure to train your cat to recognize his name, and come to you when called. This can help in the event your cat gets lost by getting out or getting displaced due to a natural disaster.