Avoiding the Summer of Lost PetsJun 30, 2023 11:00AM ● By Mary Albanese
Surely having your pet get lost is every pet parent’s worst nightmare, but it is preventable with some advance preparation before triggering events occur. According to CT Dog Recovery Volunteers board member and lead volunteer, Carol Ferrucci, the month before Fourth of July until about three weeks after the holiday is a very active period for lost pets, largely because of fireworks.
Knowing the situations that cause your pet anxiety or stress is key to pet loss prevention. Likely you already know what your pet reacts negatively to, but you may need to explore several different options—or combinations of them— before settling on what works best for you and your pet. Loud noises, such as fireworks, can randomly occur at other times besides July 4th so keep the following tips in mind throughout the year.
There are a multitude of natural regimens available; together with your pet’s health care professional, decide what would work best for your furry friend. These can include supplements and homeopathic methods; however, many are unregulated so before attempting to self-administer to your pet, it would be wise to first consult with your veterinarian.
Wrapping your pet either with an item of clothing of yours, a small blanket or a purchased calming pet shirt can also be a useful method. Wrapping resembles a hug, similar to swaddling a baby, and can help your pet feel secure and safe.
Creating a safe space for your pet is essential. Many pets respond well to auditory soothing. Calming music or sounds can be played near your pet’s special space or stall. It can serve as a buffer and can make a stressful event more bearable.
Some pet parents report pheromone therapy helps their pet cope with stressful situations. Given our pet’s superior sense of smell, this is understandable. These therapies were initially used to quell aggressive or negative behaviors, but later research has shown that they can also be useful in stressful situations like thunderstorms, moving or having a social event in your house.
Alternative therapies, such as massage, energy work like EFT, acupuncture, acupressure or even simply grooming your pet, can be useful soothing methods.
Armatherapy may also be beneficial. Certain essential oils may be helpful for your pet. However, it is imperative that you consult with your pet’s health care professional before utilizing any kind of essential oils as some of these can be toxic to pets.
You as pet parents are responsible for the safety of your furry family members, and you should be diligent in your care of them. A bit of prevention on your part can go a long way and prevent avoidable heartache.
“Make sure your pet is well-secured—if you are taking your dog outside, use a reliable leash and collar system and don’t let your guard down,” Ferrucci pointed out. “Many dogs can panic if they’re outside and fireworks start to go off. If your yard is fenced and fireworks begin, bring your pet inside.”
Ferrucci explained there are five major ways that a dog will go missing: the dog is off leash and ran, was left outside unattended, broke through a fence, ran out a door, or slipped a collar or ran when a leash was dropped. Predators are always an additional risk and can be another factor in pet disappearances.
As pet parents, Ferrucci advised to do your due diligence. If there have been windy conditions, be sure gates and fences are still secure, gates are latched (preferably locked so they can’t be left open), a fence can’t be jumped by your pet (even using a nearby tree stump, chair or table). If you have people working in your house or company, secure your pets in a room or crate so there is no chance of mishap or escape.
Should the unthinkable occur and your pet does get lost, Ferrucci offered the following tips:
- Contact your local animal control officer and notify them about your missing pet.
- Do a quick search of your immediate area for your pet.
- If your pet has a favorite person or another pet in your house, have them get involved in the search.
- If you do see your pet, stay calm and low to the ground. Try to lure your pet closer to you using treats or a toy or another pet on long line. You may even want to open your car door and offer a car ride if that appeals to your pet and offer a car ride if that appeals to your pet.
- If your yard has a barrier fence, open your gate in case your pet returns while you are searching. Turn off your electric fence.
- Leave out a “scent article”—something that belongs to your pet’s favorite person or other pet— at a point in your yard where your pet usually goes, put out water and place a camera in your yard.
- Don’t chase or scream for your pet; call gently and stay calm.
- Contact CT Dog Gone Recovery Volunteers (CTDGRV.org) if your dog has gotten lost and fill out the lost dog form.
Pets give their trust and love. You can honor that trust by keeping them safe.
Mary Albanese of ZenZu Animal Communication & Energy Work provides animal communication and energy work globally to all species of animals in a variety of circumstances, including helping locate lost pets. Connect at zenzuac.com.