July is Lost Pet Prevention Month by PetHub, a yearly reminder to take precautions to keep your pet from getting lost, plus get educated on what to do in case your pet does stray from your home.
Lost, stray and wandering pets are a huge problem in Contra Costa county. So many animals are hit by cars, attacked by wildlife, or fatally injured, never to return home again.
Use these tips to keep your pets safe from the dangers of getting lost.
1. Always Leash Or Contain Your Pet
Work on boundary training and recall to prevent your pet from wandering. At the same time, understand that no animal is perfect, and the urge to find a mate, chase prey or roam can always overtake their training.
Always leash your dog on walks, especially if you’re someplace unfamiliar. You can get a 50-foot leash for the beach or park to give your dog plenty of freedom without risking their life.
Use a cat carrier to take your cat to the vet and for transport. Many pets get lost while traveling, and it’s even harder to recover them because they won’t be able to find their way home.
If you have a dog, you should have a fence. A real, physical fence – not an electric containment fence, which are shown to cause aggression, and often fail. Many dogs enter shelters wearing transmitter collars – they may run through the shock, and will avoid returning to their yard for fear of a second shock.
2. Put A Collar On Your Cat
Compared to dogs, lost cats are significantly less likely to make it home again.
Most people have collars and microchips for their dogs, but fewer people have proper identification for their cats.
When someone finds a collarless cat in the street, they think it’s a stray. They may feed it or leave it alone. When people find dogs, however, they typically take them to the shelter or call animal control.
A recent study shows that most cats will tolerate wearing a collar, and a regular collar (not break-away) is best for ensuring that it stays on.
3. Include This Info On Your Pet Tags
You don’t actually have to include your pet’s name on their tag. It just takes up space. Whether you want to include your pet’s name is up to you. Consider including your own name.
You definitely need at least one phone number. Your cell phone might be dead when someone calls, include a back-up number if you can.
If you don’t feel comfortable including your address, add the address of your veterinarian.
Some people include a line such as “I need my medicine” or “Needs Diabetes Meds ASAP,” on their pet tags, regardless of whether or not this is actually true. Including these lines may dissuade someone who stole your pet with the intention of selling or breeding them.
It’s not exactly honest, but a would-be pet thief doesn’t have to know that.
4. Get Chipped
When someone finds your cat or dog without a collar, they can take them to a shelter or vet, free of charge, to have their microchip scanned.
A microchip is smaller than a grain of rice, and your vet will inject it just like a vaccination, between your pet’s shoulder blades.
You can get your cat or dog microchipped at any Walnut Creek veterinary office, Martinez Animal Shelter or at the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). A microchip costs about $40, but you’ll only have to pay a one-time fee to ensure your pet is protected for its entire life.
5. Get Your Pets Active
Pets who get plenty of exercise are less likely to roam.
The Pet Nanny offers bonded and insured Walnut Creek dog walking and pet sitting services. You can depend on us to take your dog for neighborhood walks while you’re at work, or care for your cat when you’re on vacation.
If you live in Concord, Walnut Creek or surrounding areas, contact us to learn more about how we can help keep your pets happy and healthy.