Prevention/Precautions for Pet Owners

1. Affix I.D. tags to the animal’s collar. Most counties require pet owners to keep valid, up-to-date rabies tags on pet’s collars. Go one step further and have a personalized name tag on your pet’s collar as well. Rabies tags only give the contact information of the vet who issued the shot. If your pet is picked up on a weekend, holiday, or after hours, there is no way for a shelter or samaritan to get your contact info from the vet in order to return your pet to you. If your address and phone number are displayed on the collar along with the rabies tag, your lost pet is one step closer to coming back home to you!

2. Have your pets microchipped. A one-time fee could save your pet’s life 8 years from now. A microchip is an electronic barcode about the size of a grain of rice inplanted in the muscle between the shoulder blades. An increasing number of shelters, most rescue groups and almost all vet clinics have scanners to search for microchips on animals brought to them. The code read by the scanner is registered to a national database where it is associated with your contact info. The 24/7 call center tells the caller how to contact the pet’s owner so your pet can come home. Not all shelters scan, but many do. Microchipping is another way of increasing your pet’s odds of coming home.

3. Have your pet scanned when you go to your vet for rechecks. If the microchip is faulty or drifts away from the shoulder area, the company will re-chip the dog for free, so take advantage of the warranty! and keep your pet safe.

4. Take color photographs of your pets that show the full body of the animal. Keep these pictures up-to-date through the life of the animal so that the pet you know is the pet you see in the picture

5. Make a list of markings, scars and unique physical traits of your pet. Draw a diagram to help express the locations of these markings. You would be surprised how difficult it is to describe your pet when it is not right in front of you and, worse, when you are upset.

6. Keep these pictures and descriptions in a folder with your pet’s up-to-date medical history. File this folder where it is easy to find and get access to.

7. Introduce your pet to your neighbors. Even if you do not talk to your neighbors very often, make a point to educate your neighbors that this particular animal belongs to you and your household. This makes it easier for your neighbors to help identify the dog or cat and make the connection between your house and your pet.

8. Maintain security by:
a. Checking your pet’s collar regularly. 2 fingers should fit snuggly between the collar and the neck of the animal. Daily activities can loosen or tighten a collar and alter its effectiveness

b. Checking all fencing and tie-out material regularly. Look for rust, weak areas, sections where your dog may have chewed or loosened pieces of fencing, etc. and replace or repair questionable material as you notice the problem. Waiting until the dog has already gotten loose is waiting too long. It is often less expensive to repair fencing or tie-out sections than it is to replace it.

9. Be aware of your animal’s mood and temperament in regards to what is happening around the animal. Be careful opening and closing doors if the dog or cat seems intent on bolting outside. Avoid taking your animals to places where there will be fireworks displays or guns fired, as these noises cause fear and may cause the animal to bite, scratch and, ultimately, run far, far away from the noise and you!

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