That moment when you realize your beloved pet is missing is horrific. It can happen to even the most diligent, responsible pet owner, and it’s beyond scary. It can be hard not to go into full-on panic mode once you realize your pet is not where they should be, but that’s Rule Number One. Staying calm and having a plan will help you find your lost pet as quickly as possible. To that end, I’ve put together a few tips on what to do if your pet goes missing.
Make sure your pet always wears his collar and tags, and that the information is current. Microchipping can be an additional and worthwhile form of identification. I’ve read countless stories of microchipped pets being reunited with their family – some after many months or even years – so it really can help.
Keep some clear, close-up photographs of your pet in an easily accessible place. It’s also a good idea to write down your pet’s unique markings and things that could help identify them – such as “small, white patch of fur underneath left front leg.” It might seem silly to do this now, but you may not be able to think clearly while distressed.
I also recommend creating a “lost pet poster” template on your computer, which will save you valuable time. All of the basic information will already be there, so updating it will be quick and easy.
If your dog disappears during a natural disaster or an accident, or while you are away, it’s a good idea to have an easily accessible Dog Identification Kit. This will help you reunite with your pet if he wanders off in fear, gets lost, or is injured and found by someone else.
Your dog may be frightened and confused. In dire situations such as earthquakes or hurricanes, wandering animals might be brought to rescue sites or taken in by caring strangers until the dog’s family can be found.
Natural disasters can destroy homes and cut off regular communication, making contact with the dog’s family difficult or even impossible. Having proof of who your dog is will make it easier to alert people that you are looking for a specific animal and help you get your beloved pet back to his family again, wherever you are.
Obviously, identification tags with contact information may be important for a dog to wear, but not all owners opt to have their dogs wear these, and they can also fall off. Having an identification kit as a backup is a smart idea for a responsible pet owner who wants to make sure their dog is safe and easier to find if lost.
The safety and security of a beloved dog is a priority for any responsible loving dog owner. Dogs are not just pets; they are family members. They have tags for three purposes. Tags are used to identify the dog and locate the owners of a dog in case they get hurt or lost, to show verification of shots and licensing, and simply as an adornment to proudly show their name. The choice of dog tag styles is varied, but should your dog’s name be included on their tags or not?
Some dog tags simply have the animal’s first name. The tag should include some form of contact with the human guardian. If you are hesitant to put your address on the tag for anyone to see, use a phone number and possibly an email address for contact purposes, but do have a tag of some kind. It is security for them and peace of mind for you. Losing an adventurous, curious or naughty dog can be heartbreaking and frightening. Searching for them can be a heart wrenching nightmare.
The issue of putting the dog’s name on the tag is something to take into consideration. It may look nice, but there are reasons to think about whether or not you want their name and yours on their tags.
Uh-oh. Little Bootsie went out the doggie door, and you had no idea someone had left the gate open. Now you can’t find her. If someone else does, will that person be able to find you?
As a loving and responsible pet owner, you want your pet to be safe at all times. In the event that your pet gets loose and starts roaming the streets, getting her back home is essential. Home escapes aren’t the only potential dangers, though; pets can also find themselves alone and vulnerable after accidents and natural disasters. Pets with microchips are much more likely than those without them to be reunited with their owners. This means that if your dog or cat doesn’t have a registered microchip, you’re taking a huge risk.
In early August, a Pomeranian named Koda was reunited with his family in Arkansas after somehow making his way to a shelter in California. Shortly before that, Wobbles the Shih Tzu went home after being missing for about a year. Not to be outdone, a Massachusetts cat named Charlie was recently found 25 miles from home after just 1 day. What do these pets have in common? They all experienced the joy of a happy reunion simply because they had registered microchips.
No matter how careful you are as a pet owner, sometimes the unexpected happens. I’ve had my share of frantic moments racing around the house searching for a pet I feared had gotten outside and was lost. And I have also had those fears come true. Finding a lost pet can be difficult, but if you’re prepared before it happens, you won’t have to waste valuable time searching for what you need before you can start looking for them.
The first thing to remember is, don’t panic. There’s a good chance your pet will be found by someone else or wander back home on their own. However, you don’t want lose valuable searching time by sitting back and waiting to see if your cat or dog can find their way home. One of the best tools you have is knowing your pet’s personality. That makes a big difference in where to start your search, especially for a lost cat.
The more people friendly your cat is, the better chance they have of being found by someone else and taken to a shelter or local vet clinic. A friendly or curious personality, though, can also cause them to wander farther from home than a more fearful cat. The scared/timid feline is more likely to hole up in a place where she feels safe and that’s where she will stay until hunger, thirst or another animal scares her away from the area. She may even ignore your calls and could be hiding somewhere in your yard or anywhere within a block of home.
Dogs can be gone in a flash, especially if they see a rabbit or something else that gets their prey drive in high gear, and they can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. Both cats and dogs have traveled very long distances, at times, to find their way home after becoming lost, but there’s no guarantee yours can do the same.
There’s no shortage of stories about pets that become lost and then somehow were able to find their way back home. Some of these pets had to travel thousands of miles in order to get home. They had to navigate over rough terrain and cross obstacles many humans couldn’t handle, yet they were able to survive and find their way back home, even if it took a year or longer to get there. The 1993 remake of “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” was based on a true story of the survival and determination of two dogs and a cat to find their way home through 250 miles of the Canadian wilderness. We know some pets can find their way back home, but how do they do it?
This is a topic I’ve always found intriguing. It’s one thing for a pet to find their way back home over short distances, but it’s another thing when they set off to find their owner in a completely different state or town they’ve never been in. One story recounts how an Irish Terrier dog named Prince went searching for his owner, a soldier serving with the British army during WW I. Prince had grown so depressed when his owner was shipped overseas to France that he stopped eating. Finally, he ran away from home. No one knows how Prince was able to cross the English Channel, but once he was in France, he started searching for his owner in the war torn land with bombs and bullets whizzing all around him. Prince found his owner in Northern France in a foxhole.
How lost pets can find their owner or their home remains a mystery to scientists. There is, however, one interesting theory: the homing instinct, which is broken up into two types. The first type is when a pet finds their way home using something other than the usual five senses. A sixth sense, if you will. It’s known that animals have the ability to make a sort of “map” in their mind of landmarks, scents, sounds and familiar territory. It’s believed pets are sensitive to the earth’s magnetic fields and this gives them the ability to know which direction they’re going by using an inner compass. But the question still remains, how do they know which way to go? No one knows, but researchers do know if magnets are attached to a dog or cat, the homing ability is taken away.
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