Tips to Avoid Losing Your Pet

As we all know, Lakewood is a city full of pets, and many residents consider their dog or cat to be part of the family. This is why it can very traumatic for a family when a pet is missing. The ordeal can place tremendous strain not only on the lost animal, but also on the family that is looking for it. Summertime is an especially risky time for pets, since so much outdoor activity stirs their curiosity. By following a few simple bits of advice, you can reduce the chances that you will ever face the ordeal of a lost pet.

*As always, start with some common sense. Don't allow your animals to roam freely in an unfenced area. If you have a fenced yard, make sure that your fencing is solid, and be sure to keep your gate closed. Check regularly to make sure there are no spaces small enough for the dog to squeeze through. Be careful...many dogs can slip through small spaces. Also, check occasionally to make sure that the dog is not digging a hole under the fence. If you don't have a fenced yard, invisible fencing may be an option for you.

*Never take your dog for a walk without its leash. No matter how well trained you think your dog is, there are always temptations that could cause it to run. If you are looking for a safe, fenced area to go offleash, try the Lakewood Dog Park.

*Make sure that your pet is properly collared and tagged. This goes for both cats and dogs. It is best to have an ID tag with the pet's name and your current phone number. Dogs should also wear their dog license and rabies tags.

*Talk to your veterinarian about having a locator chip implanted in your pet. These chips use GPS technology to track your pet's movements. Most animal shelters, including the Lakewood Animal Shelter, scan incoming animals to determine if they have an ID chip.

*Make sure your pet is spayed or neutered. Animals are much less tempted to wander away if they are fixed.

Despite your best efforts, there may come a day when your pet is missing. If this occurs, here are some tips:

*Check every nook and cranny to make sure that the animal is not stuck somewhere on your property. Many "lost" pets are actually trapped somewhere in their own home, such as closets, washers or dryers, or under furniture. Cats are especially capable of becoming stuck in the most interesting places. Lakewood homes offer numerous other potential hiding places due to their age and design. These include attic crawl spaces, laundry chutes and areas under the porch.

* Call the Lakewood Animal Shelter at 216-529-5020 to report your pet missing. Let the Animal Control Officers know when and where your pet was last seen, and have a thorough description. Also, you may want to call local veterinarians to see if your pet has been injured and taken in for treatment.

*Notify all of your neighbors in the immediate area as soon as possible. Talk to as many of them as you can, give them a description and make sure they have your phone number. Neighborhood kids are also a wonderful resource. Let them know your pet is missing and they will likely want to help. Also notify neighborhood regulars such as your mail carrier and school crossing guards.

*Post fliers around the area where the pet was lost. Make sure the flier has the date and place where the pet was lost, as well as the pet's name and description. Always have a clear, recent photo of your pet. Be sure to put your phone number on the flier.

*When someone responds to your flier, please exercise caution. If someone claims to have found your pet, it is suggested that you arrange to meet them in a public place. Also, it is not recommended to go alone to the meeting.

*Beware of scams. Sometimes con-artists will claim to be traveling salesman or truckers, and offer to ship your pet home if you send them money first. Frightened pet owners can make easy marks for predators, so use common sense.
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Volume 2, Issue 14, Posted 12:12 PM, 06.22.06