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How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Lost

lost dog poster on a light post

How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Lost

It’s not uncommon to see photos of beautiful lost dogs being shared by their frantic owners on social media these days. Statistics on lost and stolen dogs seem to increase every year. Animal welfare organizations report that the number of dogs abandoned every year has also risen. But veterinarians remark that often the collared dogs that one finds on the side of the roads, looking scared and vulnerable, may be lost and not deserted. Having your pet run away can be heartbreaking and sadly, pet parents are often left with no hope or recourse of finding their four-legged family member. We recommend you follow these few simple precautions to avoid this heartbreak and so that you and your pet live happily ever after…

Get collared

The simplest precautions are often the most important when it comes to your beloved pets. The first thing you should do as a responsible pet owner is to buy a collar with your pet’s name and your contact number or address inscribed on it. If you are unable to find a pet store that offers this service then look online. If you can, ask your pet’s doctor about implanting a microchip (radio-frequency identification device) under his or her skin.

Mind the gate

Another crucial precaution you must follow is shutting your door and your gate firmly every time it is opened. If your pet is small or thin and there are gaps in the iron grill of your window or terrace, put in some steel netting to ensure their safety.

New and unfamiliar places

In order to help your pet, you must understand what might motivate them to run away. One of the most common reasons for pets running away is when they are left alone in unfamiliar surroundings – chances are they are running out to look for you. If you are moving to a new home, then make sure you settle your pet in before leaving for the office. If this isn’t possible then ask a friend or a family member to dog-sit for a few weeks till you are all settled in. Take your canine companion for walks around the neighborhood and make sure they have ample time to sniff around and mark their territory.

Loneliness and boredom

Wherever you live, make sure that your pet is comfortable and feels at home. It may not be possible to provide a large living space or a garden for them to play in, but it is imperative that you keep your home clean. Clean your home with a natural floor cleaner and not one that may irritate their skin or carries a harsh odor. Give them a small bed or a blanket of their own, a few toys and always ensure there is fresh water for them to drink. Take them for regular walks and play with them so that they feel cared for and are engaged.

Mating call

Though medical opinion on this differs, it is advisable to neuter or spay your dog. The best time to neuter your dog, both male and female, is before their first season i.e. before they turn one (in human years!). Mating is a natural instinct and the tendency to run away is especially strong in male dogs if they are overcome by an urge to mate. If your female dog comes in season then keep her tied on a comfortable blanket or mattress inside your home so that she does not run away. Ensure she gets plenty of food and water and is otherwise comfortable and clean when she is on heat.

Festival time

Diwali may be the festival of lights for most of India but the incessant light, acrid smells and deafening noise of fireworks brings gloom to all animals. For dogs especially, Diwali is a tortuous time. While the human hearing range is 20 and 20,000 Hz, dogs hear a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz which can make loud sounds (for us) extremely disturbing, even painful for them. Most dogs, especially the neighborhood Indian dogs you may care for outside of your building, get very agitated during Diwali and try to run away from the loud sounds. Take care to ensure your four-legged friends’ comfort by bringing them inside for a few days and keeping them in an area where they may be least affected. Take them out only when it is quiet and always on a leash.

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Shibi, like the song in ‘West Side Story’, is oh so pretty, witty and bright! Modest too, but we can discuss that later. A Chennai native (34) who now dwells in the capital, there is nothing she loves more than a good story. Except for a good handbag. A self-professed shopaholic with impeccable taste, the young women’s rights lawyer and mother was ‘discovered’ by an Indian Express editor in Chennai at a famous boutique eight years ago and she has not looked back since. Fashion writing allows her to combine her two greatest loves and Shibi has been published in The Hindu, the Indian Express, Femina, Scroll, Bodahub, Hi-Blitz Magazine and many more. A militant optimist, Shibi abhors armchair activism and suggests that everyone ‘Be the Change’ instead of complaining about Modiji. Or run for POTUS – anybody seems better qualified than Trump. She also loves animals and has orchestrated many a doggy/kitty rescue; her most fervent hope is to see the status and treatment of both animals and women improve in India and the world over. Also, she requests you to RECYCLE and to REUSE. Climate change is real, people. Jai Hind!