Make it a point to protect your pet through identification in case they are lost. It is the most loving thing you can do for them.
Each year millions of beloved pets end up lost and separated from their owners for various reasons. According to the American Humane Association, less than 20% of dogs and less than 2% of cats are reunited with their families. Most end up in shelters with no identification on them. Our pets cannot talk and tell their rescuers who they belong to or where they live, so it is up to us to provide that information.
First and foremost, your pet should always wear a collar with their current dog license tag as well as a tag with your current address and phone number. If you move, be sure to update the information. If a stray pet is found wearing a current license tag, the license number can easily be looked up online through the county’s dog license website.
Collars can however, come off, fall off, or be removed. Therefore, in addition to a collar, consider a more permanent form of identification such as a microchip. Microchipping has been gaining in popularity and next to an ID tag, is the most successful in reuniting lost pets with their owners.
A microchip is inserted by a veterinarian beneath the surface of the skin between the animal’s shoulder blades. It is about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique ID code that can be read by a microchip scanner. The procedure is quick and painless, not much different from an ordinary vaccination. The permanent microchip stays with your pet and will last their lifetime.
You MUST register the chip with your address and phone number for it to be effective, and if you move, you need to update the information. Studies show that nearly 75% of dogs and cats brought to shelters with microchips are reunited with their owners. The reasons for the ones not reunited are largely due to incorrect or outdated information in the registry.
Even if you think your pet is safe in a fenced in yard, or well trained, you never know what can happen. Dogs can easily be attracted by scent or curiosity and can wander off in no time. Gates to the yard can be accidentally left open. And pet thefts are increasing at alarming rates. It’s best to be on the safe side at all times and know that your pet has identification on them.
Since the presence of a microchip is only detected through the use of a microchip scanner, it is important to keep your pet's collar and ID tags on at all times. But even if they lose their collar, nearly all shelters, rescues and vets will scan animals found for the presence of a microchip, resulting in much higher chances of them being reunited with you.
The cost of microchipping varies depending on your vet, but there are some low-cost programs available. Refer to the Microchip Ohio website for one such program. Some local shelters also offer low-cost microchipping.
Education is the first step in pet poison prevention.
Pet owners should take the time to educate themselves on the various, sometimes unexpected, pet poisons in their environments. The Pet Poison Helpline provides an extensive list of poisonous items for pet owners to be aware of, but here are a few of the most common items seen by veterinarians:
Many people believe certain dog breed, such as huskies and malamutes, are capable of living outside all of the time because of their thick coats. However, no dog breed should be consistently left unprotected outside. According to the City of Cincinnati, when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a pet owner should not leave their dog outside for longer than sixty minutes without adequate shelter. For outside dogs, owners should provide a warm, dry, draft free shelter with fresh, unfrozen water. Heated water bowls are a great option to ensure consistent access to unfrozen water. Owners should also feed their outdoor dogs more during the winter because their bodies use more energy trying to keep warm. In 2016, the City of Cincinnati passed an ordinance with further restrictions and shelter guidelines for dog tethering and weather conditions, which can be found by clicking here
A common winter hazard that vets encounter consistently with cats is engine belt injuries. Cats will climb into cars to keep warm, and without knowing they’re there, people will start their cars and harm the cats. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s advised to give the car hood a few raps to make sure there are no cats cozied up inside.
Pets start an estimated 1,000 fires per year. While this isn’t a huge number, it’s easily preventable. Pet owners should identify the risks in their home and make sure they’re contained from pets. Risks to consider include, open flames such as candles, space heaters, stovetops, fireplaces, and frayed wires chewed by puppies.
Even if all fire hazards are contained from pets, there’s still always a chance of a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) , there’s a home fire reported every 86 seconds in the United States. So while the hope is that you and your pets never have to face a fire, it’s important to have a plan.
In case of a fire, pet owners should hang window clings that let firefighters know there’s a pet in the home. The ASPCA offers a free Pet Fire Safety Pack that includes a window decal. When leaving home, pet owners should know where their pets are and keep them close to exits if possible. Pet owners should also consider investing in monitored smoke detectors that alert homeowners of a fire when they’re not home and automatically dispatch firefighters.
Getting your dog microchipped is an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure that drastically increases the odds that your pet will find its way home if it’s ever lost. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique identification number. It’s injected into a pet’s skin between the shoulder blades on their back. When scanned with an electric scanner, the chip will show the unique identification number and manufacturer of the microchip. This unique identification number will be linked to the pet owner’s contact information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.
If a stranger ever finds your dog, a shelter or veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip. Once they have the identification number and manufacturer from the chip reading, they will call the manufacturer in search of the pet owner’s contact information. Therefore, if a dog owner moves or changes their contact information, it’s extremely important for them to update the contact information associated with their pet’s microchip identification number.