12 Ways to Keep Your Dog or Cat from Getting Lost

The American Humane Association estimates that more than 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. Don’t let your pet become part of this heartbreaking statistic. Here are a dozen ways to keep your dog or cat from getting lost.

12 Ways to Keep Your Dog or Cat from Getting Lost

1. Keep your dog on a leash.

One of the most common reasons pets are listed as missing on the LPOTHV website is because they ran away when off leash.

“I know how popular it has become to let dogs off leash when hiking or walking on certain paths but it’s just too risky,” said Bentley Potter, founder of the Lost Pets of Hudson Valley (LPOTHV), “Dogs are very scent driven, and it doesn’t take much for them to get caught up on a scent and then stop and realize that they are a mile from home and aren’t sure where they are.”

Almost 4,000 lost and found pets are posted annually on the LPOTHV website and Facebook page. More than 60 percent of these pets are reunited with their families thanks to the shares and posts on the LPOTHV web pages.

2. Leash train your dog or cat.

Walking with your dog will be much more enjoyable if he or she is leash trained. Whether it’s constant pulling, jumping or leash aggression unruly dogs are much more likely to slip their collars and harnesses or whip the leash from an owner’s hand.

You can also leash train your indoor cat so that she can safely enjoy the outdoors with you.

3. Choose the best harness for your dog.

Some dogs learn pretty quickly how to slip out of harnesses. If this describes your dog, you want to choose an escape-proof harness. The Whole Dog Journal offers a review of the Best Dog Harnesses of 2018.

4. Teach your dog to come when called.

Teaching a dog to come when called is not only a behavioral issue, it’s a safety issue. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) offers tips on how to train your dog to come when called.

5. Never leave pets unsupervised.

Potter said many dogs who go missing in the Hudson Valley were left unattended in the yard and either got out through a hole in the fence, dug their way out or escaped through an unlatched gate.

It’s also not unusual for dogs confined with an electric fence to cross the barrier in pursuit of an animal or due to a fence malfunction.

6. Make sure the yard is secure.

Keep the doors and gates to your yard latched when your dog is outside. Check frequently for broken or weak spots in the fence or anywhere your dog or other critters may be digging around the perimeter.

For climbing/jumping dogs the HSUS recommends adding an extension to the fence that tilts inward at a 45-degree angle. For dogs who like to dig, bury chicken wire at the base of your fence with the sharp edges rolled inward, place large rocks at the base of the fence or lay chain-link fence on the ground.

7. Secure your home.

If indoor cats escape they can quickly get confused and lost. It’s important to make sure that screens on doors and windows fit securely and are free of rips and tears.

8. Have your dog or cat spayed/neutered.

Pets who are spayed or neutered may be less likely to wander off in search of a mate.

9. Identify your pets fear or phobia.

Your pet may be an escape risk if he or she is exposed to loud noises such as thunderstorms, firecrackers or construction sounds. Once you identify what’s frightening your pet a professional trainer can help with desensitization.

Many dogs and cats go missing during thunderstorms or July 4 fireworks. It’s especially important to keep them safely indoors during thunderstorms or firework displays. Behavior experts suggest muting thunder or firecracker sounds by creating a comfortable spot in a basement or windowless bathroom and turning on a television, radio or loud fan.

Also, pay attention to where your pet hides when afraid and make sure they always have access to that space.

10. Don’t leave your pet alone in the car.

According to the HSUS thousands of pets are stolen each year from unattended cars.

11. Keep your cat confined during travel.

Indoor cats like the safety of their homes and traveling can make them nervous. When you do have to travel with your cat, make sure you use a secure carrier. Catime.com offers tips on how to choose the best carrier for your cat.

12. Consider a tracking device.

Behavior modification can help with dogs who are fixated on escaping. A tracking device can help keep dogs safe while owners are working on this training. There’s a review of pet tracking devices at Top Ten Reviews.

No matter how careful you are in protecting your pet, the truth is they can still get lost. If that happens, you want to be prepared. Make sure your pet’s ID tags have current contact information. Microchip your pet for added security as collars and ID tags can get lost.

Be sure to keep your contact information current on the microchip registry site. Always have a current color photo of your pet that can be uploaded to missing pets sites and posted around the community as well as handed out to neighbors, police and local animal shelters.

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Photo credit:Maksym Niezhentsev

88 comments

Marie W
Marie W11 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R2 months ago

MICROCHIPS and HomeAgain tags....

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michelle t
michelle m4 months ago

All of my 6 fur kids who are ex death row dogs have collars with identification discs fitted.The discs list my dogs name and my contact details. Additionally all my dogs are micro-chipped.

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE4 months ago

Good suggestions

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KimJ M
KimJ M5 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M5 months ago

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KimJ M
KimJ M5 months ago

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KimJ M
KimJ M5 months ago

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KimJ M
KimJ M5 months ago

Tfs

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Chad A
Chad A5 months ago

Thank you.

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