Keep your pet safe at home
The best way to prevent your pet from getting lost is to have a fenced yard, and, when you take your pet away from home, to keep it on a leash. Fencing options can include the more traditional wooden or chain link fence as well as the newer electric fences. When considering fencing, please make certain that there are no gaps or holes through which your pet can escape, and please use fencing material appropriate for the size and strength of you pet.
Despite your best efforts, it is not always possible to prevent your pet from getting straying from home. One of the most common reasons a pet will stray from home is because it isn't spayed or neutered and is looking for another dog or cat with which to mate. Spaying or neutering your pet will eliminate your pet's reproductive instincts and, therefore, decrease the chances of it straying from home to search for a mate. Plus, it's just the right thing to do for many (including health) reasons.
So, just in case your animal becomes lost, please make sure that your animal has proper identification, and that you can identify your animal. Please consider taking the following steps to protect your pet:
- Current Tags: Your pet should always wear a current rabies tag and an I.D. tag with your present address and phone number. Make sure that the veterinary office where your pet received its last rabies vaccination has your current address and phone number.
- A Snug Collar: Be sure your pet's collar fits snugly so it won't come off. The collar should fit around your pet's neck so that you can fit two of your fingers underneath the collar. If you have a puppy or kitten, adjust or change its collar as it grows.
- A Microchip: In addition to wearing current tags, consider getting your pet a microchip identification implant. If your pet ever loses its collar and identification tags, its microchip will be its ticket home. This is because most shelters (including the Regional Center), humane organizations (including the Roanoke Valley SPCA) and veterinary clinics check lost pets for microchips with special scanners. For details about microchips implants, consult your veterinarian. The Regional Center and the Roanoke Valley SPCA provide microchips for owned pets for a $25 fee (this fee includes registration of the chip). For more information about getting your pet microchipped at the Regional Center or the Roanoke Valley SPCA, please call the Front Desk, during business hours, at 540.344.4922. If your pet has a microchip implant, make sure the registry for the implant's manufacturer has your current address and phone number on file, too.
- Pet Tattoos: Pet tattoos also provide positive identification, but sometimes may be difficult to read because hair has grown over it and/or the lost animal is frightened and will not allow inspection. If you do use a tattoo, the best place to apply it is on the inner thigh. Pet thieves have been known to cut off an ear.
- A Recent Picture: Providing a good picture is the best way to enable other people to help you look for your pet. Be sure that you always have a picture that looks like your pet looks now.