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Lost Dog? Don’t Panic.

March 19, 2015

It’s spring! Unfortunately, getting out more with our dogs can create opportunities for accidents: Slipped collars, loose fence panels or gates, or broken window screens may allow dogs to get lost. Fortunately, if your dog gets lost there are things you can do to bring him/her home safely.

Start with prevention: Ensure storm doors, screens, fences, and gates are in good repair. Check that your fence gates are closed and secure every time you let your dog outside. Before walks, ensure the leash is securely fastened and the snap has completely closed. A properly fitted collar should not slip over the head; if your dog’s shape makes this difficult consider using a harness, head halter, or martingale-style collar for walks. Make sure all collars and harnesses have an ID tag with up to date information, and consider microchipping your pet.

If the worst happens, large numbers of flyers posted quickly over a wide area remain one of the best ways to bring pets home. Flyers should be eye-catching and easy to read: Large, simple text and a good description or high quality current picture. Laminate flyers posted outdoors, and consider pasting them to neon colored poster board. Bring flyers to local businesses, animal shelters, police and fire stations, and post at trailheads for biking and walking paths. Distribute your flyers to veterinary clinics (including emergency clinics), as a Good Samaritan may bring your pet to a veterinarian if s/he is injured.

Social media provides an excellent opportunity to spread your message. Lost Dogs Minnesota (https://www.facebook.com/LDoMN) is a great resource where you can check for sightings posted by others as well as posting your information. Put your flyer on your Facebook page or Twitter account and ask your friends to share and retweet.

Lost dogs are often so frightened they may revert to feral behavior and may not even come to their owner. If your pet is sighted in an area but cannot be approached, try baiting a spot with food and a familiar bed, blanket, crate, or article of your clothing.  If you spot your dog, try tossing treats without moving and allowing him/her to approach you.

Losing a pet is scary, but there are things you can do to bring a lost dog home. If you have any questions, please feel free to call to speak to one of our doctors!

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