One of the scariest experiences you can have is to lose your
animal. At Salt Lake County Animal Services, we try to help reunite owners and
pets as quick as possible. July 5th is historically the busiest day
in shelters due to pets going missing because of the fear of fireworks on the
Fourth of July. Here in Utah with Pioneer Day at the end of July we have a
higher intake on the 25th of July as well.
July seems like a perfect month to highlight this issue, but
potential lost pets exponentially increase during the summer due to warmer
weather and travel, so it is important to always be well informed and know what
to do if your pet goes missing.
There are many reasons that pets get lost, the best way for you
to help a lost pet is to prevent the animal from going missing in the first
place. Your pet should have an identification tag attached to their collar with
contact information and a properly sized collar. You should be able to fit 2
fingers between a dog’s neck and a collar. Cats often need a breakaway collar
to ensure their safety in case of jumping a fence this can make keeping tags on
them difficult. This is a good example of why a microchip can be effective in
helping your pet find their way home.
Microchipping is an effective way to keep tabs on your pet
and help them find their way home. A microchip is a tiny device implanted with
a shot that when scanned will match up your contact information in a database.
It is very important that you keep your data updated and accurate with the
Microchip company and your local shelter. Approximately half of pet owners
don’t submit their contact information or keep it accurate rendering the device
If your pet does go missing, start looking immediately. The
longer you wait, the lower your chances are of recovering your furry friend. Post
fliers, talk to neighbors, visit your local shelter and post on known social
If you find a lost animal the law states, you must bring the
animal to your local animal control within 24 hours. This is the best chance
that the animal will have of being reunited with its family. This is where they
will go to look. The animal will remain at the shelter for a stray wait period
and if the owner does not come in to redeem their pet then the animal will be
placed up for adoption.
As mentioned, more dogs tend to run away on the 4th
of July than any other day of the year and here in Utah we must also worry
about the 24th of July with Pioneer Day being celebrated.
Here are some suggestions to create a safe, calm environment
for your dog on these days.
*Always keep your dog on leash when out of the home.
*Create a safe space such as a crate or small room during
*Make sure your pet is wearing a visible and up-to-date Id
tag on their collar.
*Make sure your animals microchip information is up-to-date
*Get in some exercise earlier in the day and make sure your
dog has had a chance to get out and use the bathroom before the festivities begin
*Mask the noise. Play soft music in the room where your dog
is at, close the doors, windows and blinds to block out noises and lights. You
can also stay in with your pets and watch a movie to help dampen the outside
*Use a calming aid
*Give your pet something to do such as toys, puzzles, and
Lost pet statistics are grim. One in three pets will go
missing in his or her lifetime, and less than 20% of dogs and 2% of cats will
return home. Prevention is key. If your pet needs to be microchipped, you can
drop into Salt Lake County Animal Services at 511 W 3900 S, and get a free microchip if you live in Salt Lake County.
We hope you and your pets have a happy and safe month.