Your heart skips. Your stomach drops. Panic sets in. You begin shouting your pet’s name as you get short of breath. You are already running through a million scenarios of what is happening to your beloved pet—until you find your dog or cat lying on the couch you’re sure you already checked.
However, that scenario does not always end with such quick relief. According to the APPA’s 2011/2012 National Pet Owners Survey, more than 20 million pets go missing every year.
The same APPA survey also shows that one out of every three pets will get lost at some point during his or her lifetime. Here is what you should do to prevent your animal companion from becoming one of those statistics.
• Get your pet microchipped. This is usually done when your pet is spayed or neutered. If not, be sure to inquire about this easy procedure at your vet’s office. If someone finds your pet, shelters, rescues, animal control centers, and vets can scan the microchip to bring up your contact information.
• Have your vet scan the microchip at each checkup to make sure that it is in the right spot and that the information is up to date and correct.
• Have pictures of your pet either printed out or saved digitally so you can make fliers without wasting valuable searching time.
• Replace and update your pet’s ID collar tag. Some tags become difficult to read due to wear and tear. You should have two phone numbers on the tag, and at least one should have voicemail enabled.
• Have contact information printed directly on collar. Tags can fall off and information can be difficult for a person to read if the animal is wary of strangers.
• Secure fences and gates. Dogs can dig underneath fences and can escape through unlatched gates. Make sure your yard is enclosed to prevent your outside cat from escaping.
Next: Steps to take if your pet gets lost