What would you do if you lost your pet?
According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), only 15% to 20% of dogs who end up at shelters are returned to their owners, and less than 2% of cats are returned to their owners. Most of those pets were reunited with their families because of collars with current tags, ID tattoos or microchips.
Approximately four million dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters across the United States every year, many of these lovable, unclaimed pets.
That’s why in 2012, Hallmark Channel’s Pet Project is supporting PetSmart Charities in an effort to help save the lives of the approximately 8 million homeless pets that enter U.S. shelters every year.
I spoke with several of our experts here at PetSmart Charities, and they recommended a few precautions you can take now to help your chances of being reunited with your pet should he or she become lost:
- Make sure your pet wears a collar with identification tags that include two contact phone numbers. (Breakaway collars are still recommended for indoor/outdoor cats.)
- Microchip your pet! It’s easy and affordable.
- Once a year, confirm with the microchip company or service provider that your contact info is current. Include an alternate contact as a back-up.
- Take yearly photos of your pet so you always have a current photo should you ever need to make a Lost Pet flyer.
Even with the best efforts, your pet may still become lost. Here are some tips to increase your luck of being reunited with your lost pet:
- Take immediate action when you notice your pet is missing! The longer you wait to take action, the further from home your pet can roam.
- Use your current pet photo to make Lost Pet flyers and distribute all over your neighborhood. Knock on neighbors’ doors or put a flyer on their door handle.
- Report your lost pet to all area animal shelters, rescue groups and vet clinics.
- Visit local shelters to look for your pet. You know your pet better than anyone else, and descriptions over the phone can vary depending on the person at the other end of the line.
- Post lost pet flyers in high-traffic areas such as community boards, gas stations, grocery stores, thrift shops and busy intersections.
- Use social media to send notice to friends and family that your pet is missing.
- Check with your shelter or veterinarian for additional local resources for lost pets.
- Tag your car! Print out a large photo and use bright-colored shoe polish to let your community know about your missing a pet. Be sure to put a contact number.
- Don’t give up! Many pets have been found weeks, even months, later.
As awareness increases about the importance of pet microchips and ID collars, combined with knowing how to react swiftly should a pet go missing, the more pets will be happily reunited with their owners or guardians.
Hallmark Channel’s latest movie, Puppy Love, highlights the issue of pet homelessness, promotes pet adoption, and also highlights the importance of properly identifying your pet.
Watch the PetSmart Charities blog this week—we’ll be hanging out with Jake the dog, the furry star of Puppy Love, himself at his big-time movie screening in L.A.