What to do when your pet is lost

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From Metro Creative Services

Pets are beloved members of the family. Pets provide unconditional love and companionship to their owners. When a pet goes missing, it can be devastating for their owners, who want to bring their companion animals home to safety as soon as possible.

Lost Pet Research & Recovery and PurringPal indicate at least 14 percent of dog owners lose their pets in a five-year period, while 15 percent of cat owners lose their pets. The ASPCA indicates that around one in three pets will go missing in their lifetimes. While Lost Pet Research & Recovery says only 6 percent of dogs are not recovered, a much larger percentage of cats (34) are never found. Therefore, pet owners should take certain steps to prevent lost pets and to help recover them quickly.

Train your dog

Well-trained dogs who respond well to basic commands like “sit,” “stay” and “come” may be recovered more easily. That’s because you can call for your dog — who may not have ventured too far — and have him or her return to you, according to Pasadena Humane. Also, people who come across your dog can offer simple commands to sit and stay, and then the dog can be safely leashed.

Update identification

The more forms of identification a pet has, the better the chances for recovery. While a collar with ID tags is essential, microchipping is an additional safeguard. Be sure to routinely update the microchip database with your current phone number and address.

Notify locals

Place ads in local newspapers and offer a reward. The Paper and The Weekly, publications of Winters Media & Publishing in Newnan, will be happy to publish a Lost Pet classified line ad in print and digitally at no cost. Winters Media & Publishing will publish the line ad on its social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Folks can contact Winters Media & Publishing by dialing 770-254-1421 or by email at [email protected]. Also check found animal ads that may be close to your pet’s description.

Act quickly

Don’t waste hours or days waiting for a pet to return home. The sooner you begin searching the area, the better the odds of finding the pet. Start with the immediate area right outside your home and branch out from there.

Check nooks and crannies

Pets may become frightened of noises or escape homes to chase other animals. American Humane urges owners to look for places the pet may become trapped, such as in basements or garages. Other places to look include under vehicles. Pets may hide during the day, so return to areas at night. Bring along a toy or treat that may lure the pet out of hiding.

Check with shelters

Pets can be picked up and brought to animal welfare organizations or even law enforcement agencies. Pets that are wearing tags or are microchipped may have their owners notified. Animals without identification will sit unless the owner comes to recover the pet. Check shelters every two days.

Activate a lost pet alert

Pets can be registered with the microchipping service AKC Reunite. Pet owners can call 800-252-7894 to let the service know their pet is lost and to enable an operator to create a “Lost Pet Alert.”

Pets can go missing, but with fast action and advanced planning, they can be recovered.

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