The loss of a dog is heartbreaking and statistically, hundreds go missing every year, never to be found again. As a responsible owner, there are a number of ways in which you can prevent the loss of your dog or increase the possibility of the dog being found and brought back home. The following information and guidelines will be useful to all dog owners:-
1) If your dog is outside in your garden or yard, make sure the gates are locked and that there is no other method by which he can escape. Regularly maintain your fences and repair any holes; fill in any tunnels your dog may have dug under the fencing.
2) If your dog is out with you never let him off the leash, unless he is familiar with the area via his training sessions. If you have driven somewhere with the dog in the car connect the leash to his collar before you think about opening the car door. Maintain a firm grip on the leash as you open the door.
3) If you have been out shopping and it is necessary for you to make more than one journey from the car to the house, secure the dog first and then go back for the packages. In this way, you will prevent the possibility of your dog escaping.
4) If you are thinking about taking a vacation or moving house, train your dog to stay in his crate before taking him to a new area. Don’t release him from the crate, apart from when you take him out for a walk on a leash, until he is accustomed to his new environment.
5) Don’t allow strangers, children or adults, to walk your dog unless you are with them.
6) Make sure that your dog wears a collar and tag, with his name and your current contact information including your cell phone number, at all times. Also have the vet inject a microchip, which will not cause your dog any pain or discomfort. This small electronic chip contains your contact information so if you lose your dog, a vet or animal shelter will be able to scan and immediately identify him. If you move house ensure that you update the information on the chip and tag.
7) Keep a supply of photographs of your dog or save them on your computer. If you and your dog are away from home take some of the photos with you.
8) Immediately you become aware that your dog is lost or missing, call all the local vets, dog wardens, and animal rescue shelters. Produce a flyer with your dog’s pictures and information details so that they can be pinned up in all relevant areas. If your dog belongs to a kennel club or breed association let them know about your dog’s disappearance. You might also want to place an ad in the local newspaper together with finding as many sites as possible on the internet to post details and photos of your dog.
If you lose your dog, you will alleviate some of your grief by having a clear and organized strategy in place to retrieve him.