August 21, 2017

General Wellness & Prevention

Lost Pets – Don’t Let Your Pet Become a Statistic

by Aili V. Heintz, DVM

Lost pets.  Did you know that one in three pets will become lost in their lifetime? People think it won’t happen to their pets, but accidents happen – the door doesn’t close, a pet slips out of his collar, or there is a natural disaster.  Before you know it, your beloved pet is out the door and down the street.  It is important that you have safeguards in place in case your pet becomes lost.

Prevent Your Pets from Becoming Lost

First and foremost, try to prevent losing your pets in the first place.  Use these tips to reduce your chances for disaster:

  • Give each pet an ID tag listing your name, address, and phone number. You can also have this information put directly on the collar in case the tags come off.
  • Consider microchipping your pet with permanent identification.
  • Keep your fences and gates securely locked.
  • Never allow pets to roam free in the neighborhood.
  • Always transport a cat in a carrier.
  • Always have your dog on a leash when you take him somewhere.
  • Spay or neuter your pets so they are less likely to wander away.

Tips for Finding Lost Pets

If the unthinkable happens, move quickly to try to locate your lost pets.

  • Search your house and property thoroughly.  Pets can hide in some small and strange places.lost pets
  • Talk to your neighbors.  Not only can they be on the lookout, but families & kids may get involved to help look, too.
  • Use familiar noises to attract your pet. Call your pet’s name, use a whistle, a favorite squeaky toy or any other recognizable sounds.
  • Use a flashlight for looking into dark spaces.
  • Place strong-scented articles outside your home to attract your pet. Dirty clothes, litter boxes, bedding, and smelly food can draw your pets back home.
  • Contact veterinary & emergency clinics.  Check to see if your pet was injured or if anyone contacted the various offices regarding a stray pet.
  • Visit local humane societies and leave a photo of your pet with them.
  • Post many flyers about your pet within a one-mile radius. Be sure to put your pet’s photo on the flyer. Put your phone number on the flyer, but do not post your name and address.  Use fluorescent-bright paper for visibility.
  • Place a ‘lost’ ad in the local newspaper, and be sure to look at ‘found’ ads, too.

The Facts about Microchips

There are many misconceptions about what a microchip does and doesn’t do.

  • Microchips are NOT tiny GPS trackers that can show you where your pet is located at any given time.
  • Microchips are approximately the same size as a grain of wild rice and can be implanted under the skin between the shoulders at a routine vet visit. Watch this video to see how it is done.
  • Microchips have no internal power source. Instead, microchips emit a low radio frequency when activated by a microchip scanner.
  • Since there is no battery and no power source in the microchip, there is no need to recharge or replace the microchip.
  • The microchip transmits your pet’s specific code number to the scanner. It does NOT transmit your personal name or phone number.
  • When the veterinarian or humane officer sees your pet’s microchip number, he or she will call the microchip company and report the code.  The microchip company will use your contact information on file to notify you of your pet’s location.
  • Microchips are a permanent form of identification for your pet. They cannot be removed, unlike collars and tags.
  • Microchips are only as good as the information that you have registered with your microchip company.
  • If you move, change your phone number or email, or your pet changes families for whatever reason –it is critical that you contact the microchip company to update your information. They can’t help to get your pet back to you if they can’t find you!

Don’t become a statistic! Take steps now to prevent losing your pets. You never think it will happen to you, until it does!

Dr. Heintz and her dog, Mimi

Dr. Heintz and her dog, Mimi

Dr. Heintz is a small and exotic animal veterinarian at Countrycare Animal Complex in Green Bay, WI. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign. Her passion is helping all animals, whether furry, scaly, or feathered, lead long and healthy lives.

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