Last Updated on February 23, 2021 by Pauline G. Carter
Millions of dogs get lost each year around the world due to three main reasons: wanderlust, panic, and opportunity.
Canines have the natural instinct to wander or meander around called wanderlust. When they become overcome with this drive, they will leave their home and simply go anywhere.
Dogs can also sometimes get scared when they hear a loud noise, such as thunder or fireworks going off. The intense fear or panic they feel can cause them to run out of the house without any particular direction. When they get too far, it is likely that they won’t be able to find their way back home.
Finally, some dogs leave their home for no reason at all except for the fact that they see an open door and gate. They take this opportunity to escape the familiar space where they are confined and look for something new.
Since most dogs have the tendency to run away, if you own one, you need to take precautionary steps to keep him safe and prevent a lost pet situation.
To reduce the odds of your dog running away and getting lost, follow these important tips:
1. Be prepared for the likelihood that your dog will run away.
As mentioned, there is always the possibility that dogs will run away, no matter how much you love them and keep them safe and secure. Because of this, you will do well to be ready for such a situation so it can be easier to get your pet back.
Start by getting one of the sturdiest and most secure branded dog collars with ID tags for your pup.
Loose collars tend to fall off easily and could tear and wear down over time. As such, it is best to get a durable one that lasts a long time.
Moreover, choose one that you can attach an ID tag to. This accessory makes it easy for anyone to identify your dog and read your contact information. You can buy custom tags online or get a generic one where you can write your details.
You can also write your name and contact number on the collar itself as an additional precaution.
Consider having your dog microchipped as well. The process calls for a vet to insert a microchip that contains your information in your dog’s shoulder area though a harmless and painless procedure.
This chip can be read by a scanner, which will give the reader your information and allow them to contact you and make arrangements on how you can get your pet back.
Since your dog can run away without a collar on or it may fall off, the person will still have a way to contact you if you have your pet microchipped.
2. Keep your yard secure.
When dogs escape from their yard, the likelihood that they will get lost will be higher. Because of this, it is important to keep your outdoor space escape-proof.
Once you get a dog, double-check your fence and gate. Make sure they have the right height that will make it difficult for your pup to jump over it.
And even if your dog can’t jump over it, he may still be able to dig his way out. If the ground is not hardscaped, put rocks, bricks, or chicken wire lining on the bottom of the fence.
Dogs can squeeze through fences as well. Check for loose panels and have them repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
3. Avoid leaving your dog unattended.
Even if you have a fence, it still isn’t safe to leave him alone.
Keep an eye on your pet while you let him soak up some sunlight. Do not leave him alone for several minutes. If you have to go indoors or somewhere else, have someone else look after your pup.
Additionally, make sure you pay attention to your dog if your doors are constantly being opened and closed.
Look after your pet whenever you take him outside, too. Never leave him unattended at the park or beach and on hiking trails, especially in new places that he has never been to before.
If you are taking your dog for a drive, make sure he is in a crate or wearing a doggy seat belt. Even if someone is looking after your pet, it can only take a second for him to jump out a window or door.
When your dog jumps or bolts out the door, you will have a hard time running after him.
4. Get a good-quality leash suitable for your dog.
Not all dog leashes are the same. Large pups often require a stronger leash while smaller ones need something that is shorter.
To get the right type of leash for your pet, consider his size and do some research or ask your vet.
And when shopping for a leash, choose one made of strong material. Nylon and leather rank high on durability and are specifically handy for dogs that pull.
You may also want to get two leashes if your pet is a good escape artist. Use slip and clip-on leashes at the same time when you go for walks so that your pup still has one restraint on even if he slips out of the other.
5. Train your dog.
Aside from teaching your pup some tricks, obedience training should be part of your program.
Obedience training is crucial in keeping your dog safe since it helps prevent him running away and getting lost.
When you train your dog to sit and wait at the front door instead of bolting outside whenever it is open, you keep him safe and reduce the likelihood of losing him.
Train your dog to avoid chasing after cars, other pets, rodents, and potential prey as well. Aside from lowering the risk of losing him, you will also prevent him from getting hurt.
Lastly, keep in mind that the most important commands you can teach your pup are stay and come. Your pet should be able to remain at your side or go to you with one word when you let him off his leash in your yard or at the park.
Your dog should also learn to obey your command to stay or sit when he hears an unexpected loud noise.
Getting the right dog supplies gets you on the right track in keeping your pup safe and secure at home and elsewhere. However, you also have to be a responsible owner to avoid getting into any situations that may cause you to lose your beloved furry friend.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.