July kicks off National Lost Pet Prevention Month, an observance dedicated to keeping dogs and cats safe at home. As the ORIGINAL Hipster Hound, Rex, I want to shine a light on this cause and ask the Savannah community to unite in the prevention of lost pets.
Raising Awareness for Lost Pets
It’s a pet parent’s worst fear: his or her dog ran away and has become lost. According to the American Humane Society, approximately ten million dogs and cats are lost in the U.S. every year, and only 10 percent(!!!) are reunited with their humans. So sad!
To help raise awareness about this terrifying problem and reduce the number of missing pets, July has been established as Lost Pet Prevention Month - a program designed to give pet parents the facts they need to help prevent their pets from becoming just another statistic.
So let’s review some typical lost dog scenarios and offer practical tips to prevent pet loss.
How Do Dogs Get Lost?
There are some common ways that dogs and parents can become separated:
The frightened dog: Some dogs are easily spooked by loud noises such as thunderstorms and fireworks. A panicked dog can often slip out of a collar or leap a fence and take off running. By the time he stops to rest, he is completely disoriented. July 4th fireworks alone are responsible for a spike in shelter admissions of runaway pets.
The explorer: Some dogs are just natural roamers. In rural areas, these dogs can easily wander outside their familiar range and become lost. Some become trapped in man-made structures like storm drains or drainage canals, while others simply venture too far into unfamiliar woods and are unable to find their way home.
The sick dog: A dog that is ill or dehydrated can make critical errors when trying to find its way home. He may wander aimlessly or experience a fall or other injury that impairs his ability to seek water or food.
The charmer: Some dogs are natural escape artists and are very adept at charming strangers. A “Good Samaritan” will often bring such an animal to a local shelter or vet in hopes the owner will notice the animal missing and make the proper inquiries to recover it.
The abducted dog: Unfortunately, pet theft is a serious problem with over 2 million pets abducted in the U.S. annually. Some breeds are adducted for use in illegal dog-fighting rings and others simply because the thief does not want to go through the process of adopting a pet legally.
The accident or attack victim: For some runaway dogs, the scenario is grim. Many are struck by cars or attacked by other animals such as coyotes or snakes. An injured dog can be hard to spot, and they often do not receive the aid they desperately need.
The displaced: Emergency situations, like a house fire or medical crisis, could leave a beloved dog homeless. In areas like Savannah where evacuations due to extreme weather or natural events are common, like wildfires or hurricanes, dogs can become lost in the confusion.
How to Prevent Dog Loss
Fortunately, there are simple precautions all parents can take to prevent their dog from becoming lost.
Never leave a dog unsupervised: While a frightened dog can slip out of his collar and run away even in a crowd, the majority of lost dogs are unattended at the time they go missing. Humans should keep their dog in sight when outdoors - even in a fenced backyard - to greatly reduce the risk that he will become lost.
Take precautions around thunderstorms or fireworks displays: Pet parents who know their dog is skittish around loud or sudden noises like fireworks, need to be sure he has a safe place to ride out these events. Learn to recognize the signs of anxiety in dogs, and try calming techniques or products to provide relief - like the CBD oil and infused treats that The Hipster Hound carries!
Provide an escape-proof enclosure: If a dog is accustomed to spending a lot of time in the yard, it needs to be enclosed and escape-proof. Fences should be high enough to prevent a dog from either leaping or scaling them, and ground supports should be secure enough to prevent digging dogs from tunneling beneath them.
Collars and ID tags: All dogs should wear a collar with current contact information for their humans. This simple precaution can help a “Good Samaritan” easily locate and reunite a dog parent with their pup.
Microchips: One of the BEST preventive measures a parent can take is to microchip their dog. Microchipping greatly increases the chances that a lost dog will be identified at a local vet or shelter.
At The Hipster Hound, my mom, Tonya, and the trained staff are pet loss prevention experts! Not only can they answer any questions the humans may have, but they also sell a WIDE range of products to help parents keep their dogs right by their side - collars, harnesses, leashes, and dog tags. Not to mention supplements to calm down anxious pups like CBD oil and infused treats. The Hipster Hound is committed to preventing lost pets everywhere! We hope these tips help both humans AND dogs have a fun and safe July.
Rex, The Original Hipster Hound
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