How to keep your pet safe

And ensure your pet never goes missing

Shelters in Ontario receive thousands of lost and stray pets each year.  The goal is to return them to their owners, but sadly, this is not the reality. Some are sent home, with teary eyed owners hugging them tightly, while other pets are never reclaimed.

 

How can you prevent losing your pet?  There are a number of things you can do to ensure your pet does not go missing:

 

  1. Secure your property. Ensure there are no “escape routes” for your pet to get out if you let them outside unsupervised.
  2. Supervised outdoor time.  If your pet is an escape artist, spend time with them outside when they go out to play or go to the washroom.
  3. Entice them with fun toys.  Make the backyard more fun by playing games or giving enrichment toys like stuffed Kongs.
  4. Ensure your pets are secured during transport.  Many animals go missing each year when they are transported loosely in the car.  Not only are you at risk of losing your pet, but you also increase the chances of them being injured in the event of an accident.  Use a carrier, crate, or harness and leash.
  5. Work on recall.  If your dog tends to run off, work on their recall using positive reinforcement and yummy treats.
  6. Fix your pet.  Pets tend to wander off when they aren’t fixed.  Spaying and neutering not only reduces this risk, but provides other health benefits as well.
  7. If your pet goes outside, ensure they have a properly fitted collar with ID tags.  Ensure that your name and phone number is on the tag, and of course, remember to update it if your contact information changes.
  8. Microchip, microchip, microchip!  A collar is a great tool, but it can slip off.  By microchipping your pet, you ensure that your contact information can be located, and your pet can return home quickly.

 

A shocking 1 in 3 pets will become lost at some point during their life.  Microchipping is an extremely common and effective tool to helping pets be reunited with their owners.  To give you an idea of how microchipping is an effective tool, Petfinder, a website in the US, published the following statistics:

 

  • Roughly 22 percent of lost dogs that enter shelters are reunited with their owners.  For microchipped dogs, this statistic jumps to over 52 percent returned.
  • Less than 2 percent of cats that enter shelters are reunited with their families.  For microchipped cats, the return rate jumps to 38 percent – over 2000 percent more likely to be reunited than non-microchipped cats.
  • Sadly though, only 58 percent of pet owners ensure their information is accurate and up to date with their microchip company.

 

Registered microchips provide the best chance of a pet returning home.  To microchip your pet, contact your vet to book an appointment, attend a local microchip clinic, or check with your local humane society to see if they offer microchipping services.

 

The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford Perth hosts drop-in microchip services at their Kitchener location Monday to Friday, between 9am and 4pm, and at their Stratford location on Mondays between 10am and 4pm.  For more details, check out our website or call 519-745-5615.