Pet owners love and adore their furry little friends and would do anything for them, so nobody wants to have to experience that gut-wrenching feeling you get coming home to find out that your loved one has run away. What do you do? Who do you call? Where do you even begin to search? These questions and more race through your mind as you try to figure out what to do.
Precautionary Steps to Avoid Losing a Runaway Pet
So that you never have to experience the uneasy feeling of whether or not you’ll ever see your runaway pet again, you and your pet should be properly prepared. This includes some of the following.
It’s highly recommended to have your pet microchipped. A microchip is a permanent method of electronic identification. The chip itself is very small, equivalent to the size of a grain of rice. It’s implanted just underneath the skin between the shoulder blades at the back of an animal’s neck. Each microchip is labeled with a unique number that can be detected using a microchip scanner.
The microchip number is recorded on a database registry and provides details about the animal, as well as its owner. Pet owners should make sure that their contact information is recorded on the database in conjunction with their pet’s microchip number. If your pet goes missing and is found, they can be easily returned if an animal shelter scans the animal’s microchip and pulls up your contact information that goes along with it.
It is vital to make sure your contact information is kept up-to-date on the database so as to ensure a safe return of your pet if they were to ever get lost.
ID & Name Tag
When it comes to ensuring your pet’s safety, making sure that they’re always wearing an ID/name tag, and rabies vaccination tag is important. These tags do a variety of different things in case your pet ever runs away, beginning with confirmation that they’re not a stray animal. Your dog’s ID/name tag should include a couple of things, such as the animal’s name, your contact information and possibly even the city you live in. Additional items may include adding your address or a small note such as “I’m microchipped!” or “I’m missing, please call my owners!” in order to increase the likelihood that your pet is returned to you. Rabies vaccination tags give assurance to those who may come across your pet that they’re healthy and can be safely approached.
Proper Pet Training Techniques to Prevent a Runaway Pet
When it comes to training your pets, it’s nice if you’re able to teach them to sit, bark, and even do a trick or two, but one of the most important things you can teach your loved one is to not run away. This can be a little more difficult to do as it’s not a simple command or action that you want them to complete. It’s actually quite the opposite since it’s inaction that you’re asking of them.
Teaching your pet not to run away can take some time, but surely can be accomplished with some proper training. Since dogs are the most likely pets to run away, we’ll discuss them specifically. One of the most important parts of this type of training is teaching your dog to come to you on command. The best way to do this involves rewarding their positive behavior. Every time your pup responds to you by coming, you should reward them with a designated treat that they only get when they’re training.
You should begin by teaching them to come to you in a small room with just the two of you. Make sure to limit distractions. When they do come, pay them off with a treat. Continue this over the course of a couple of days until they’re responding consistently. Next, do the same thing, but on a larger scale. This may include going to another part of the house and calling them to you. Eventually, your dog will get to the point that you can practice with them outdoors. Teaching them to come to you on command is a vital step in training because if they manage to get away from you without a leash on, you have the ability to call them right back.
Dogs have a tendency to dart outside as soon as they see an open door and an opportunity to get out of the house. It’s important to train them not to do this, which will significantly decrease the likelihood that your pet ever runs away. This can be done by rewarding positive behavior as well. Do so by walking up to your door with your pet on their leash and reach for the door. If they begin to move, let go of the door handle and wait again. Continue doing this until they don’t budge when you make a move to open the door. This is when they are rewarded. Continue this exercise until you’re able to open the door wide open and they sit there waiting for your command allowing them to go.
What to Do if Your Pet Does Run Away
So your pet has run away and you’re obviously concerned for their safety, but don’t fret. All hope is not lost. Here are a couple of things you can do if your pet does manage to go missing.
- Call your local animal shelters and animal control agencies to see if someone may have dropped off your pet or if anyone called about finding your pet. Follow up with them every day
- Search your local neighborhood. Depending on when your pet went missing, they likely couldn’t have gone very far
- Advertise — post notices throughout your city and other local locations that your pet has gone missing, as well as on social media
- Search the internet — there are plenty of helpful apps and websites that will allow you to post a picture of your pet with its info and these sites will scan their databases to see if your pet has turned up anywhere