Tips for when your pet is missing

Crazy things can happen to make a domesticated pet seize the moment to leave the security of a fenced yard, electronic containment or home. Here are some safety tips to help ensure that does not happen, but what to do if it occurs.

If you use traditional fencing, secure your gate with a lock, signage and check your fencing on a regular basis for low/high spots and weak boards. If your dog is a fence jumper or scaler consider safe tethering away from the fence as to not cause harm to the dog, or set up an electronic containment within your fenced area. Check on a regular basis for breaks in the electronic fence lines and replace the collar batteries as directed. Use their brand battery not some inexpensive one as they tend to be ineffective or have a short cycle.

Have house rules for guests, children and service contractors when in your home. Crates, gates and confinement might be a must for the safety of all, including felines. Or a day at the pet spa could be planned.

When a pet goes missing the following steps are helpful for a safe, prompt return or helping take actions if they are missing more then a few hours or days.

Contact your local police department and/or animal control and make a log entry; do not leave a  voicemail. If you border more than one community, contact that department too. Law enforcement have received some pet training in their schooling and many times have pets of their own and understand the need to help. Local social media can be helpful. Alerting neighbors, local animal hospitals and known pet lovers can certainly help with eyes and boots on the ground. If your pet came from a shelter or rescue group, contact them for help too.

For either dog or cat, leave a blanket or bed outside; even a recently worn garment by a favorite family member. Put out water and food only during the day, as well as a litter box for cats. Keep the garage door cracked open.

Always have a current picture of your pet to post on social media and to make flyers with. Keep collars with current identification and consider micro-chipping. Many times cats have found a new place in the home to hide; some are in bushes not that far away and will most times move around at night if in fear mode. Walking and softly calling for your missing feline or canine is effective too. Have treats and patience.

Please do not leave your pets unattended in the yard. Sometimes they are prey to other animals or victims of theft or other unforeseen circumstances. Do not believe that your dog is well-trained to boundaries. No dog is ever 100% faithful to a boundary like they are to you. The nose takes over and many times the mind forgets.