WJTV News Channel 12 - Give lost pets a voice to help bring them back home

Give lost pets a voice to help bring them back home

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(ARA) - When a family member is lost, you exert all efforts to find them and bring them home safely. And the same holds true when the family member has fur and walks on four legs.

One out of three family pets will go missing during its lifetime according to HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service. Noisy holiday celebrations like the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve, natural disasters and everyday oversights like open windows and doors frequently cause pets to become separated from their families.

Finding a lost pet isn't easy. You have to rely on others to help you reconnect. But there are happy stories like that of Dakota, a Siberian husky, who wandered from her home in New Mexico in December 2010 and was found three months later about 1,800 miles away in North Carolina. It was a microchip that helped reunite Dakota with her owner, Audra Roberts.

Here are some ways to help keep your pet safe and to help find your pet if it does get lost:

* Collar tags
Since your dog or cat can't communicate an address or phone number, it's imperative that you do it for him. Without identification, 90 percent of lost pets won't return home, according to HomeAgain. Make sure your pet has ID tags on his collar that provide some way for a person to connect with you - whether it's an address, phone number or even email. An unattended animal with tags is more likely to be rescued because he seems to be someone's lost pet.

* Microchipping
Microchips are a permanent form of identification and are essential to help reunite you with a lost pet. These tiny radio frequency identification devices are inserted under the skin and can be scanned at animal shelters and vet offices. Microchips contain unique ID numbers that link to your contact information in a national pet registry like HomeAgain. When you enroll in the service and report your dog or cat missing, a lost pet alert is sent to members of the network who register to receive them within a 25-mile radius. A staffer will guide you through the emotional process of finding your pet. HomeAgain has helped more than 850,000 pets reunite with their families.

* Keep your contact information current
An old home address or telephone number won't help you reunite with your pet. So make sure you update your contact information at the vet's office, with your microchip registry and on your pet's tags.

* Review your backyard security
Dogs and cats are excellent diggers and cats can jump to amazing heights. Frequently walk along the fence line of your yard to spot any weak links in fencing and to make sure your dog hasn't dug to the center of the earth chasing an imaginary bone. Also keep an eye on your pet in the backyard at all times, because you never know when a loud noise could spook your furry friend and cause him to attempt an escape - by whatever means possible.

Your pet is a member of your family, and it's important to keep him safe, both at home and while on the road. Make sure to give him a voice in case he gets lost, so he can communicate - through tags and a microchip - where he belongs.

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