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Are you prepared if your four legged friend escapes from your home?

Dogs can bolt out an open door and be gone in a heartbeat, so what do we do when this unfortunate, but preventable, incident happens.

First, try to see which direction your pet went. Chances are you will not be able to outrun him, so grab your cell phone, some treats and a leash and hop in your car or on your bicycle and head out in that direction. You should also call any close friends or neighbours so they can watch out for him or help in the search.

If you do see your dog, stay calm.

It’s best not to “chase” your pet as he may think it’s a game and keep on going, and end up in traffic or an area that you can’t track him in. Don’t forget, he’s just gained freedom and will soon find himself lost, will panic and may not be able to find his way home safely.

Many times when our pets are at home,

they are not wearing collars and identification tags, so it’s imperative that you have your pet microchipped. If he is lost and then found by someone and taken to a vet’s office or an animal shelter, he will still be identified.

If your pet has been missing for a few

hours and you haven’t been able to find him, take a few minutes to stop at home and check that he hasn’t found his way back on his own. If not, it’s time to get a photo out and print some pictures with his name and your telephone number and start posting them around your neighbourhood. In most cases dogs are usually found within

a few blocks from home.

You should also contact the local vet clinics and don’t forget the most far reaching tool we have at hand today – go on Facebook and post your lost dog story. It’s amazing what far reaching effects it has.

Before this happens to you, let’s see what we can do to prevent your dog from getting out on his own. We should make sure that your yard is fully fenced and gates are locked in case the pool guys or lawn maintenance team comes in and leaves the gates open. If the gates are secured they will have to come to you to gain entry and you can then be sure your pet is safely inside. Also never leave your pet unattended in your yard for long periods of time. You should also make a habit of checking your yard on a weekly basis to check that there has been no digging or damaged or broken fence pieces.

Be sure that your pet is spayed or neutered because any dog that isn’t fixed will be anxious to find a “partner.” Your pet will be producing hormones that will make him behave like a crazy love starved teenager every time a female dog walks by, especially one in heat, If your dog wants to get out of his yard or house, he will do almost anything to get out.

If your pet is an escape artist, you may

want to try double leashing him while out

for a walk. This will give you more control, while also keeping your pup safe. Use a slip leash as well as a clip-on leash, and that way, if your dog slips out of one, he will still be attached to another. It’s important to find the best kind of leash that works for your pup. Large breed dogs generally need a stronger leash, and smaller dogs need a leash that is a bit shorter in length. While a rope or chain leash may appear to be strong choices for dogs that pull, the rope leash may slip through or burn your hand and the chain leash may cut your hand. A better choice would be a

nylon leash with an extra handle down by

the clip to give you extra leverage and control.

Sometimes simple training is the best bet when trying to stop your dog from running out the front door. Practice having someone enter the house, and having your dog stay when the door opens. Keep your furry friend distracted by a treat or special toy if necessary, until the person closes the door behind them. You may also want to have a short leash handy so your pet can be hooked up quickly.

We hope that this never happens to us and our beloved pets but, if it does, while we hope for a good ending, unfortunately that’s not always the case. Young dogs and especially purebreds are very susceptible to being stolen or if found, being sold to an unsuspecting buyer. Please be sure your pet is microchipped and licensed so he or she will find their way back home.

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