Did you know that July 5th is the busiest day for animal shelters all across the U.S.A.? And, of those dogs that end up in shelters, only 15-20% ever make it home? That’s a staggering statistic and an obvious cause for concern for every pet parent. So what can we do to help prevent the loss in the first place?
We know that 4th of July fireworks are here to stay and that they can last over several days. Purchasing fireworks is legal in several states, so many more neighbors are setting off their own fireworks in their back yards. For many of our dogs, this is the worst holiday of the year!
Lost Dog Prevention
Very appropriately, July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month. Here are some great ways to be proactive in preventing your dog from getting lost during this peak period:
Keep on a Leash: It’s a good idea to keep your dog indoors in and around the 4th of July. Even if he’s really good about staying in the yard normally, be sure to keep him on a leash when going outside or on a walk to prevent him from bolting during an impromptu fireworks display. Leash your dog before you open the door and check to make sure his collar isn’t too loose.
Up to Date Identification: While 80% of pet parents believe that pet identification is important, only 33% keep identification on their pets at all times! Make sure all your pets have legible and current information on their identification. For extra measure, consider using all three of these methods:
Microchips: Even though most of us don’t have the equipment to read a microchip, this is probably the best safety net in case your dog’s collar falls off. Talk to your veterinarian for more information.
Digital ID Tags: Use digital technology to modernize your typical name and phone number identification. Tags with a QR code or NFC technology can be scanned using a smart phone to link to an online profile of that dog. (Available at www.pethub.com)
Municipality Tags: Most cities require dogs to wear a license tag. In addition to abiding by the law, it’s a great way to backtrack a lost dog to its owner.
Secure Your Perimeters: Check all your doors and windows to make sure they’re securely closed. Block off any pet doors and make sure all yard gates are intact and securely latched.
Conduct an Effective Search: Keep up to date photos of your dog on your smart phone. Enlist the help of your neighbors to watch the neighborhood and search their surroundings. Contact the area veterinarians, pet hospitals and shelters. Post “lost dog” posters in your neighborhood and post a notice online using Craigslist and Reddit.
9 Ways to Help a Scared Lost Dog
Let’s say you’re helping your neighbor find their dog, or you come across a dog cowering on your property. You can tell the dog is frightened or panicked. Here are some tips on approaching the dog and things you can do to help:
1. Remember that most dogs in this situation are lost, not stray, and want to find their way back home safely.
2. Don’t call to the dog – this may cause him to bolt out of fear of being snagged.
3. Make a noise to get his attention and let him know you are there (a cough or clearing your throat).
4. Don’t make eye contact – this may seem confrontational. Keep a sideways profile to appear more submissive.
5. Use food as a motivator. Smell it, taste it and place it on the ground. This may not work, however, if the panicked dog’s sense of smell is shut down.
6. If you don’t have food, pretend you do have food you are eating. Make yummy sounds, then drop some on the ground and kneel pretending to be looking for it.
7. If that’s not an option, sit down or better yet, lay on the ground and pat your chest.
8. Play with a ball or Frisbee, but ignore the dog.
9. Let the dog approach you. Let his approach be 100% on his terms.
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