According to the American Humane Association, over 10 million pets go missing in the United States every year, and since it’s Lost Dog Awareness Day, we thought we’d share some useful tips for keeping your pet safe and what to do if your pet goes missing.
What you can do to help protect your pet before they go missing:
* Make sure your dog is wearing their ID and rabies tags. Low-cost identification tags can be created at your local pet supply store or online. Frequently check to make sure the tags are secure.
* If you don’t already, make sure to have your pet microchipped. ID tags are a good idea, but tags can come off or be removed. A microchipped dog with up-to-date owner contact information increases your pet’s chance of being reunited with your family.
* Verify or update your contact information for your pet’s microchip at the following site- http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/. By entering your pet’s microchip number, this tool will provide you the name of the microchip company & database where your pet is registered and you can call them and verify your info. Don’t have/know the microchip number? Bring your dog into a local veterinarian, shelter, animal control or police station and they should be able to scan your pet’s microchip.
* Register your dog for free with Lost Dogs Illinois (www.lostdogsillinois.org)- they have some great tools including a flyer creator and search tool for if your pet goes missing. In addition, their Facebook page shares posts of both “lost” and “found” pets and has over 150,000 followers to help spread the word.
If your pet goes missing:
* If you’re able, put out food, water, and your pet’s favorite blanket or an article of your clothing where your pet was last seen.
* Contact your local animal control facility and police department to report your pet as missing. Those are normally the places where “found” dogs are returned. Also, make sure to contact your microchip company to report your dog as lost.
* Create flyers or signs that include a photo of your pet, their description, name, and your contact information. Distribute these in areas where your pet was last seen as you search for your pet.
* Share your flyer and/or pet’s information on local social media sites and with local veterinarians, shelters & rescues. Local community Facebook groups and neighborhood sites like Next Door are great ways to spread the word and get more people keeping an eye out for your pet.
Lost pets CAN find their way back home, so let’s do all we can to help increase their chances with these useful lost dog awareness tips!