We invest so much time and energy into our beloved pups – we keep them vaccinated, heartworm and flea treated, we feed them the best food we can get our hands on.

And how do they respond?

Truth be told, most repay the effort with unconditional love and a lifetime of attention.

And others? Well, others run away.

Never out of spite and not because they don’t love you, some pooches are more inclined to do a runner than others. Some are natural explorers, some can’t resist the temptation that the smells and sounds their surroundings have to offer, and some just can’t wait to meet that gorgeous little Pomeranian from down the street. Some suffer terrible anxiety each day you leave home, fearing you will never return and want to come looking.

It’s your responsibility to ensure that your dog’s safety is the highest priority at all times, and that certainly means knowing where they are at every waking moment. Council regulations mean that your pet must stay within the boundaries of your property at all times, that means cats as well folks!

Did you know if your pet causes damage when out roaming, for example is hit by a car, that you are responsible for the cost of repairing damages? The motorist is NOT responsible for the damage to your pet.

Let’s take a look at this handy checklist of ways you can stop your pup from doing a runner and getting themselves lost.

  • Make sure your yard is fully and securely fenced (appropriate of course to breed and size of your dog)
  • Invest in good training – teach commands like ‘come’, ‘wait’ and ‘stay’, and ensure that if your pet is allowed to roam throughout the house that they know the rules when it comes to being outside.
  • Recognise early if your pet has separation issues. Does it sit and stare at the door all day, does it try and escape, is it destructive, will it only eat if you are there? Have the discussion with the vet or a well-recognized and qualified behavioral trainer (not all trainers are equal). We will post more on this topic later in the year.
  • Don’t leave your pet alone or unsupervised for long periods, some like to keep their dog inside if you do have to go to work all day, however if they are prone to being destructive this may not be the best idea. Does your pet cope when you are at work all day? Find out – set up a device with a camera and record them.
  • Desex your pet – Decrease roaming/escape acts in pets in search of a mate (which can also attribute to lower risk of injuries and accidents when unattended). Did you know that over 70% off all hit-by-car patients are entire animals and most of them males?
  • Keep your Lassie on a leash unless they are in a designated off leash area – until you’ve managed to master great off-leash walking techniques, and are confident that your doggo will come when called, even if there are lots of stimulating distractions around them (think other dogs, balls at the park, birds on the beach etc.), walking on the leash is best even at the dog park. The rules are ‘your pet must be under your direct control’ even to be off leash in appropriately designated areas.
  • Keep your pooch stimulated – giving your pet lots of love and attention scratches an itch that no paw can, but what happens when you are not there to keep them occupied? Lots of pets look for escape plans when they become bored and lonely. Sometimes born out of curiosity, sometimes out of sheer boredom, many dog breeds are serial escape artists and will fly the coop at the first opportunity if they feel slightly jibbed in the love and attention department. Ways to help engage your pet must involve mental stimulation and reward. Food toys like Kongs, scatter feeding, snuffle mats, hide-n-seek, home-alone toys can all help keep the mind and body busy.
  • Be car smart – we’ve seen dogs run from car doors the second they are open; we’ve even seen dogs who jump from windows open too far. Be sensible and buckle up your Bestie.

In the event that your pooch does take an unexpected adventure, there are some steps you can take to have them located and returned promptly –

  • Microchip

Ensure your pets are microchipped and that the details are current – your local vet or pound will be able to contact you immediately if your make sure you are on the ball here. Have your pets microchip scanned at their annual check up to ensure that it is still reading.

  • Dog Identification Tags

Engraved dog tags will alert any good Samaritan that stumbles across your wandering Wagger to your details and allow you to be contacted sooner. This simple, effective and cheap bit of bling can result in a quick phone call having your pooch returned safely.

  • Use Local ‘Lost Pet’ Social Media Groups

We’ve had some huge success in locating owners using social media – join your local lost and found pets group now so that you can post and let folks know your mate is missing in action. Surrounded by fellow animal lovers and pet owners, these communities are a wonderful resource that offers a high and fast success rate and generally results in lost pups ending up in a kind locals lounge room instead of the pound. If you find a dog however, do not assume that all pet owners have or are glued to Facebook. Your legal obligation is to hand the animal into a vet or pound to enable the microchip to be scanned and the owner identified.

  • Keep Updated Photos in Your Phone

Recent photos of your pet will help with quicker identification in the event of a crisis. There’s really no point in posting gorgeous puppy pics to social media or on lost posters if you are hunting for a greying, overweight wanderer. Use your phone to your advantage.

Nothing makes our heart skip a beat faster than the thought of losing our pets. They become such an ingrained part of the family, so it is crucial we do everything in our power to ensure they stay safe, loved and in our care.  If you do end up in the scary position of losing your pet, find out more about where to turn if your pet is missing to increase your chances of having your fur-baby returned to your promptly and safely.

If you need to chat about microchipping your new pup or desexing your cheeky escape artist, we’re all ears ~ book your appointment today on 03 9369 1822 or at https://www.clinicconnect.com.au/au/clients/03071712864321.