According to Petfinder, more pets are lost on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. One way to prevent becoming one of the statistics is to take extra steps to keep your pet with you. Here are some lost dog prevention tips from Lost Dogs Illinois to help your pet from getting lost in the first place.
Secure your yard and check collars and leads. Check all gates, fences and other areas where a spooked dog could escape to make sure everything is secure. Inspect your dog’s collar and lead to make sure your dog can’t slip out or back out of the collar and verify the lead is strong and secure. An extra security check goes a long way in lost dog prevention.
Take your dog out for some exercise before the festivities. Give your dog a chance to burn off some energy and take a potty break before the fireworks. The crowds, explosions and everything else that is associated with the parades and fireworks on the Fourth are often too much for dogs. It's often best practices to leave them a home as the best means of lost dog prevention.
Maintain a firm grip on the leash at all times. A small distraction when you are on a walk, like something blowing in the wind, could scare your dog and cause him or her to bolt.
Make sure tags and microchip are up to date. Even if you have a fenced in yard, it’s best that a dog always wears a collar and updated tags just in case. Have your dog scanned to make sure the microchip works and call the chip company to update information. Also keep an up to date digital photo to use.
Set up a safe zone for your dog. Set up either a quiet room for your dog or a quiet place for a crate. This is particularly important when you have company that is coming and going or around the fourth, which make it easier for a pet to slip out. According to Lost dogs Illinois, there is a 30 percent increase in lost dogs during fireworks. Shut the windows, turn on the air conditioning and some background noise before leaving for fireworks.
Should your dog get out, immediately contact the shelter or rescue. If you’ve recently adopted a dog and he or she gets loose, call the shelter, rescue or foster home immediately for help. Don’t be embarrassed and consider the safety of the dog.
Get the word out. Dogs do get out and get lost. Contact local police, shelters and rescues, local veterinarians and animal controls to let them know your pet is missing. Provide a description and digital photo, get signs out and utilize social media if your dog does escape. The more you reach out, the more your chances of reuniting with your lost pet improves.
If you have a particularly shy or timid dog, you should take extra steps.
Keep the lead on. Since shy, fearful or newly adopted dogs will try to run and hide if frightened, leave a short lead on in the house and a longer lead in the yard. He or she should drag it around and you then have something to grab if your dog bolts or runs from you.
Consider investing in a tracking device. There are GPS units available for pets that make it easier to track down those that bolt and hide. A popular option is the Tagg Pet Tracking Device.
Learn more about what to do if you lose your dog or if you find a lost dog on Lost Dog Illinois’ website and Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. Learn about lost cats at the Lost Cats of Illinois’ Facebook page. Both organizations posts updates regularly on lost and found dogs and cats.
Lost Dogs Illinois and their sister organization Lost Dogs of Wisconsin have also recently launched a national page – Lost Dogs of America - to help volunteers in other states network lost dogs and return them to their families.
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