Friday, November 15, 2013

How to Keep From Losing Your Dog!

Anyone who has ever had a dog to go missing knows how heartbreaking it can be. Putting up posters, placing ads in the newspaper and even going door-to-door in your neighborhood are unlikely to result in finding your pet.

Too often, dog owners are lax in taking preventive measures that will help their pets to be returned in the event that they are lost. After years of seeing the same behavior in their dog, they don't expect the day to come where they will run off and get lost from home. Once the dog is gone, it may very well be too late to do anything to get them back. That's why it is so important to protect your dog before things go awry and the unexpected becomes a reality.

Microchips can be placed in dogs in order to ensure that their owner information is available to anyone who finds them. This is a more affordable option than many people realize. Although fees vary from one location to the next, my dog's microchip was $40 when I purchased it a few years ago.

There is some controversy about the dangers of these microchips but my dog has never had any related problems. He didn't even acknowledge it when the chip was placed, through injection, beneath the fur on his shoulder area. There are pros and cons with the microchip including the need for anyone who finds a dog to take it to a vet's office where it can be scanned. Many people don't even think about getting a dog scanned for ID. That's why it is so important to keep a tag on your pet that signals to strangers that your dog has a microchip and tells them where to call in order to ID it.

Supposedly, dogs that have microchips cannot be sold to puppy mills. That may help prevent your dog from being taken or at least get him returned to you if he is missing.

Although the microchip is a permanent form of ID, it is up to you to register your information with the organization where the chip came from. If you move or your phone number changes, you will need to provide updated information. Pet Link is a good resource which will send you reminders about updating your pet's info and let you know where to order a new ID tag if your pet's gets lost.

Since not all people will take the time or effort to check for a microchip, an additional ID is always a good idea. You can get tags that hang on the collars but these are often lost off or fade so that they are no longer visible. A solution that I have had better luck with is a sturdy collar with the dog's name and phone number embroidered on it. You can find these at LL Bean for a reasonable price and they are good quality collars. You may also want to combine a tag with one of these collars "just in case". There is no such thing as overdoing it when it comes to holding on to your dog.

Finally, one of the most important things you can do is to never assume your pet will behave in the way that it always has in the past. Your dog might chase a rabbit and lose track of where he is. A female dog that is in heat can also draw male dogs to it from a mile or more away. Also, some females stray from home when they go into heat. If you aren't breeding your dog, consider getting it spayed or neutered. This is one of the biggest reasons that pets leave home when they otherwise would not. No matter how intelligent your dog is, all reason will go out the window when breeding season rolls around!

If you keep your pets outdoors, consider getting a kennel to keep them in when you are not at home and at night. Especially in rural areas where nocturnal animals can be a hazard. Coyotes are a serious threat to dogs and cats alike and different animals in different areas can also be dangerous predators to your pet.

A more expensive way of protecting pets who are outdoors or who participate in activities like hunting is with a GPS collar. These collars are available for tracking pets for various distances either with a separate computer or with your PC.

Pets are an important part of our lives. They are man's and woman's best friend and become an important part of the family. Losing them can be traumatic. There are some steps that you can take that will help keep your pet close to home where he belongs.
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