Every week, we receive fliers, phone calls and emails about missing pets. It makes your heart drop. It’s every owner’s worst nightmare.
That’s why we asked Sarah Sypniewski, an expert in finding missing pets and the owner and founder of NinjaDog Concepts, to share her prevention tips with us to keep all of our dogs safe and off of the “Missing Pet List.”
By: Sarah Sypniewski
At NinjaDog Concepts, we work 24/7 to find your missing pet, even when you can’t. Despite our recoveries and successes, we wish pets wouldn’t get lost in the first place.
Almost all of our cases could have been prevented if owners spent a few extra minutes planning ahead. Take the time now to plan how to keep your pets from escaping–and out of our client database.
Let go of the “it will never happen to us” mentality
Most cases start with “Fluffy’s NEVER done this.” Believe that it can happen to you, but it doesn’t have to. Stay humble and pro-active. Animals are unpredictable and surprising.
Keep your pets secure during parties
with baby gates or closed bedroom doors. If they are joining the party, consider keeping them on leash. Also, warn your guests ahead of time not to keep doors open. It only takes one second for a pet to dart out of an open door.
Do not keep them in the yard unattended
It’s a recipe for escape, theft, and letting them fall prey to wildlife (not to mention, it’s cruel). They can push through unsecured barriers, people with ill intentions can snatch them, thunder or backfiring cars can startle them, or a coyote can grab them–all in mere minutes.
Make sure ID tags are current and their collars are fitted securely
Tags and collars wear down. Keep them in tiptop shape, check them regularly for correct fit, and replace them promptly when needed.
Do you know where your microchip info is?
Keep your chip company’s phone number and your chip number in a place that’s readily available, should you need it quickly.
Use a professional, experienced pet care provider (like Fitdog!)
Find a reputable, experienced provider who will be especially careful. Check references, research them, and meet with them several times before booking the job. Many lost pet cases start when the pet gets loose from a pet sitter–even a professional one–because pets can become out of sorts while you’re away, even in the best of hands. Make sure there’s a plan in place if your pet does get loose/go missing while under their care.
Regularly check fencing and yard
Every 3-4 months, get in the habit of looking at every inch of your fence, privacy vegetation, and other barriers. Check for loose or decaying boards, warped chain links, walls that are losing height, or holes in shrubbery. Also inspect the ground below the fence—is there potential for your pet to dig under? Fix and fill in your yard promptly. If you keep your pet on a tethered leash in the yard (hopefully attended and NOT for extended periods of time, by the way), check to make sure it is still strong and not frayed.
Train your pet on a recall command that is 100% effective
This usually only works for dogs, but why not try it with your cat too? It can be difficult, but putting the time in to teach your dog “HERE!” or another command that he responds to immediately and without fail is beyond worth it when it saves his life.