Your pets’summer care
Part 2 of 3:
Prevent a lost animal
Courtesy, Dublin/Laurens County
Keeping your dog safe at home
requires ongoing vigilance, especially in
the summer,when outdoor activities,
family travel and warm weather events increase the chances of an animal becoming lost. The following tips are designed for dogs but are also useful for other animals.
Whether your dog is an indoor, outdoor or indoor/outdoor buddy, it should always wear identification. Even the most closely watched dog can get away. A collar with an ID tag is a basic essential. Preferably, the collar should have two tags.
The rabies tag you receive when you take Fido to your veterinarian for his annual vaccinations, including the mandatory rabies shot, bears the name, address and phone number of the vet, the year of vaccination, and a number unique to that specific tag. This tag in itself is sufficient to get a lost dog returned to you.
You can provide extra security by buying an ID tag available at pet supply stores and on the Internet for around $10. They can be engraved on both sides with your phone number, street address and e-mail address.
In addition to a collar with ID tags, a relatively new way of identifying a dog, cat or other pet is the microchip. These chips, as small as a grain of rice, can be bought for around $25. They contain a numerical/letter code unique to your animal, and are placed just under the skin between the shoulder blades. The process is like a vaccination and the dog feels little or no discomfort.
The buyer registers the number with the microchip company for a one-time fee. Most veterinarians and animal shelters now have scanners that can read and display the chip’s information. A quick phone call to the company to obtain information about the animal, another call to you, and your animal and you are soon reunited.
ID tags and a microchip will help a lost animal get home but won’t prevent your pet from becoming separated from you in the first place.
Never let your dog run free. This violates local ordinances and increases tremendously the chances of your dog becoming lost or getting hit by a car, shot, poisoned, attacked by a dog pack or picked up by an animal control officer. Also, unneutered males and unsprayed females allowed to run free are the #1 reason that animal control facilities and animal shelters are so overrun with dogs, and have to put down so many on a regular basis.
If you have a fenced back yard, check the fence line regularly to ensure there are no gaps, breaks or holes through which the dog can escape. You should pay special attention to any sections covered by bushes that could hide a break.
Finally, be sure any gates or doors that allow a dog to get out of the yard or house are kept securely shut, and can’t be opened by a dog pawing at them.
(Next week: Your pets’ summer care, Part 3 –How to find a lost animal)