One in three pets will become lost in his or her lifetime. That is a startling statistic. As a pet parent, I can’t imagine anything more frightening than losing my beloved dog, whether she dashed out the door, escaped from a fenced in yard, jumped out of the car or any of the other myriad ways in which a dog can become lost — a statistic.

May is National Chip Your Pet Month and to recognize that, we want to offer tips and ways on how to bring a lost dog home. Of course, the best way to protect your pet is to assure he never gets loose, but we know that dogs are escape artists and sometimes no matter how many safety measures we have in place, accidents happen.

How To Bring A Lost Dog Home

Social enrichment is important to our dogs’ whole health — mental and physical. With social enrichment, though, comes the possibility that your dog could get lost or slip his collar or break free from your hold. You want to introduce your dog to other dogs and humans because this interaction can alleviate boredom and anxiety. Social enrichment also helps your dog learn how to interact with strange dogs and humans and be a more well-rounded and happier pup.

Here are some ways to protect your dog. If she does escape we offer this advice to help you get reunited.

Microchip your pet. This quick and, according to veterinarians, painless procedure can be done in office in a matter of seconds. When your pet is microchipped, a device the size of a piece of rice is injected between his shoulders. It is a one time procedure. The responsibility then falls upon the pet parent to register the dog and his chip information. You must also remember to update the chip information when you move or change your phone number.

According to the AKC Reunite website, a dog who is microchipped is twenty times more likely to be reunited with her owner.

Wear a collar. A dog cannot “slip out” of her microchip the way she can slip out of her collar. Wearing a collar is an ideal second line of defense in having your dog returned to you if she escapes. A benefit of your dog wearing a collar is that if she’s running down the road and someone notices her and notices her collar, and if the collar has tags with your contact information it is much easier for the person whose found her to contact you. If your dog isn’t wearing a collar and if the person who finds her isn’t educated about microchipped dogs or doesn’t have the time to take your found dog to a veterinarian or a local shelter to have her scanned for a chip, you may not be reunited with your fur baby.

Chips and collar tags. This is an ideal combination of both visual and nonremovable identification for your pet. If your dog were to escape, you want to make it as simple as possible for you to be reunited and a collar with your contact information as well as a microchip amps up that possibility.

Companies like PetHub provide pet parents with a unique collar tag for their dog. The tag is registered on the PetHub site and the pet parent inputs the dog’s relevant information and photos along with the contact information, address and telephone number to help with a reunion. PetHub does offer a GPS location service with one of its unique tag plan.

Compatible chip. When having your dog chipped, you need to keep in mind that not all chip readers are compatible with all types of chips. Also, not all individuals who scan for a chip are experienced enough to look for a chip that may have migrated from the typical area between your dog’s shoulders to other areas of his body.

A microchip is not a GPS locator. It is important to know that a microchip won’t allow you to track your dog to discover his whereabouts — a microchip is not a GPS locator. A microchip is a radio frequency identification device. It carries an identification number that is unique to your dog. When the chip is scanned, the ID number is transmitted to the chip reader. Once the chip is scanned the vet’s office or shelter can log into the chip registry and locate you based on the information you input when you registered your dog and his chip.

Ways to keep your pet safe:

  1. Make sure he is always on leash (unless he’s in a fenced in area in which the fence has no escape routes)
  2. Teach your dog the “come” command. This should be one of the first commands you teach your dog as it could be a literal lifesaver.
  3. Keep your dog away from the door when you open it so he doesn’t get scared and bolt.
  4. Protect him during high stress times like Halloween (tiny trick-or-treaters are scary for dogs or the Fourth of July when fireworks frighten many dogs. In fact, July 4th is the number one day when dogs go missing). When there are frightening sights and sounds outdoors, put your dog in a quiet space and turn on DOGTV to help calm his nerves and keep him entertained.
  5. Make certain your dog is microchipped and has a collar with identification tags on it. If you don’t want to microchip your dog, he should always wear a collar with visible tags with your current contact information.

Always keep an up-to-date photo of your dog on your phone. If she gets groomed, keep a photo pre-grooming and one post-grooming. If she escapes contact all veterinarian’s offices in your area as well as shelters and rescue groups. Get on your social media pages and make sure you let everyone know your dog has gone missing. Broadcasting this information may just help bring her home.

Don’t let your dog become a statistic. Keep him safe and at home.

What steps do you take to assure your dog doesn’t escape? We would love to know because your tips may help protect another pet parent’s dog!

Hey Shelter and Rescue Operators, and Organizations, ask us how playing DOGTV in your facility will help to calm dogs and alleviate their stress while they’re waiting for their forever homes. Also, grab your free fourteen day trial of DOGTV to play at the shelter.