What to do if your dog goes missing - AmericaNowNews.com

What to do if your dog goes missing

Here's a startling statistic from the ASPCA: Less than 20 percent of lost dogs are returned to their rightful owners. Our pet pro, Luciano Aguilar, shares some tips on how you can raise the odds of finding Fido.

"One of the best parts of having a dog is coming home and being greeted by tail-wagging excitement," says Luciano. "But imagine coming home and your dog is nowhere to be found. It's heartbreaking. But there are a few things you can and should do to increase the chances of finding a lost dog."

Luciano says that a collar with a secure ID tag is your dog's quickest ticket home and you want to make sure he always wears it. Your dog could get loose at any time. You sure wouldn't want that time to be when his collar is lying on the kitchen counter.   

It's a good idea to take photos of your dog from time to time. That way, if he does go missing, you'll have a recent photo or two that you can use to make some signs. A sign may seem a little old-school in our high-tech world, but they're a great way to quickly get the word out that your neighbors and local business owners should be on the look-out.

Most dogs that are recovered are usually found within a two-mile radius of their homes, so use that as a general rule of thumb when posting your signs. When you make a sign, be sure to keep it short and simple. If you put too much information, people wont take the time to read it. Be sure to include your dog's name, age, sex, color and weight. And don't forget to include your phone number!

"Opinions differ on this, but I'm against offering a reward," says Luciano. "There are plenty of animal lovers out there who'll sympathize with your loss and will be willing to help you if they can without financial incentive. And offering a reward can attract scammers who try to take advantage of your sad situation."

Of course, if your dog has run away, you should call your local animal shelter and let them know that he's missing. Or the shelter might just call you! If a dog is picked up without the collar, the shelter is going to scan him for a microchip implant. It's like having a permanent ID tag that instantly identifies you as the owner and how to contact you.

"The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted under your dog's skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The microchip has a serial number on it that is matched to your contact information so that you can be identified as the rightful owner. Most of the dogs that are safely returned to their owners have microchips, so I highly recommend that you get one implanted in your dog," says Aguilar.

There's always a risk that your dog might go missing. The more you do to help others identify him if he does get lost, the more likely he'll find his way back to you.

Copyright 2011 America now. All rights reserved.

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