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What to do when you find a lost pet — Tips by HomeAgain

“You’ve been reading your Lost Pet Alerts, keeping a good lookout, and then, finally, you see a missing pet you know you can help! We don’t want to leave you hanging out there, PetRescuer, so we’ve compiled a list of tips and instructions for the best ways to approach a lost pet and what to do when you have a found pet in your care.

Approaching a Lost Pet

First things first, it’s really important to remember that lost pets are out of their element, and their behavior is often unpredictable. Be mindful of your approach:

  • Walk slowly toward the pet.
  • If the pet starts growling, back away.
  • Don’t make any sudden movements, like a quick grab for a collar, or you may provoke the pet into aggressive behavior.
  • If you can approach the pet without scaring it, try talking to it to give it a little reassurance.
  • Never put yourself at risk when trying to rescue a lost pet. Back away slowly and call animal control for help.

Sick and injured pets are almost always on the defensive, so in those situations, you should call animal control services for help. Even though you want to help, only trained professionals know how to handle these situations in a way that protects the pet and people involved.

What to Do With a Lost Pet

You’re standing toe-to-paw with a lost pet, now what? The first thing you need to do is check for a collar and ID tags and immediately call the number on the tags. Often, a pet will have an owner tag and a vet’s tag. Try to call the owner first, and if she doesn’t answer, try the vet.”

[Did You Know? If you find a dog or cat, Little Creek Veterinary Clinic will scan it for a microchip — FOR FREE — to help you get the pet back home.]

“As you may know, many lost pets don’t have collars. Cats generally don’t wear collars and tags, and lost dogs also have a tendency to lose their collars, too. So it’s pretty common to come across a lost pet without a collar and ID tags.

You have a few options for what to do with a lost pet with no form of visible ID:

  • Take it to a vet clinic or animal shelter to be scanned for a microchip.
    • If you take the pet to a vet clinic, please be aware that they may not shelter the pet until the owner is located–except maybe in the strange circumstance that it’s one of their patients.
  • Call a local shelter with animal control services to come and pick up the pet.
    • Not all shelters have animal control services, so you may have to call more than one.

If a microchip scan positively identifies the pet, then you have to decide whether to keep the pet in your care until the owner arrives or leave it with a shelter. This, of course, is a decision only you can make, and it depends entirely on your circumstances. All PetRescuers need to remember to keep any lost pets separated from their children and other pets. This helps ensure that everyone is safe, so that your good deed doesn’t end badly.

Thanks for all your help and remember to play it safe around lost pets. Happy rescuing!”

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Learn more about why Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, recommends HomeAgain microchips for his patients, then Contact Us to schedule your pet for a quick and easy HomeAgain microchip ID implant.

  1. https://littlecreekvet.com/2014/09/23/getting-your-lost-pet-back-is-just-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-heres-why/
  2. https://littlecreekvet.com/2014/09/18/microchips-are-a-safe-effective-permanent-id-heres-why/
  3. https://littlecreekvet.com/2016/09/13/lost-pet-microchip-recovery/

 

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Travel Tips brochure available at our office.

Travel Tips brochure available at our office.

Going somewhere?

Check with us to make sure your pet is up-to-date on recommended vaccinations and parasite control.

Whether you bring Fido and Fluffy along for the ride, drop them off at the kennel, or hire a pet sitter, you’ll need to know if their vaccines are current — and you may need written proof. For pets travelling by airplane, a health certificate may also be required for entry into the destination state or country.

Don’t wait until the last minute to find out your pet isn’t ready for travel or kenneling — call us 1 to 2 weeks in advance of departure.

Another great idea: Get your pet a permanent microchip ID like HomeAgain, in case it escapes the car, the kennel, or the casa.

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   Millions of pets disappear from home each year. Many pet owners assume their own dog or cat would never stray from home, either because the pet has shown no interest in wandering or because there are no known means of escape.

What are the chances? According to the lost pet recovery experts at HomeAgain:

  • 1 in 3 pets goes missing during its lifetime
  • 41% of lost cats are considered indoor-only cats
  • 8 to 10 million pets stray each year
  • Without ID, 90% of lost pets will not return home
  • Getting lost is the #1 cause of death for pets

How do pets get out? They:

  • Bolt through an electric fence
  • Walk out a door or gate that’s mistakenly been left open
  • Flee from a thunderstorm or fireworks
  • Wander into unfamiliar territory while on vacation
  • Disappear during an emergency
  • Get stolen while unattended
  • Crawl out of holes created during home renovation/construction
  • Develop wanderlust as they age, due to cognitive loss
  • Sneak out when you prop the door open to sign for a delivery or carry in the groceries
  • Pop out a screen to chase a neighbor’s pet or wild animal
Speak up!
   Sometimes, a pet’s disappearance can be traced to a door or gate that’s been left open. The risk goes up when unfamiliar people are entering and exiting the house. Some pets find a safe corner to hide in, while other pets attempt to run as far from the house as possible.
   All people who have access to your house should be made aware that pets live in the home. Ask visitors to be vigilant about keeping doors and gates shut when visiting and working. (When practical, confine your pet to a room that you alone will access.)
Whom do you tell? Consider the most frequent visitors to your home:
  • Family members, especially children
  • Friends and overnight guests
  • Service workers, including meter readers, maids, and repairmen
  • Construction crew, roofers, and handymen
  • Pet sitters
   Of course, no plan is foolproof, so it’s best to have backup. Make sure your pet has a registered microchip (we think HomeAgain is best) to increase its chances of returning home to you.
   Contact us to schedule an appointment to have your pet ‘chipped, if it isn’t already. A simple office visit is all that’s necessary – no surgery, no anesthesia needed.

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