* Sadly pets get stolen and lost every day so ensure you know who to contact and how in case your pet goes missing. If your pet goes missing it is a very emotional time for you and your family so knowing this information in advance will help.
* Properly identify your pet with a collar and tag & microchip. A microchip is a permanent ID that cannot be removed or lost like collars and tags. If you change your phone number or move house make sure the microchip is registered with your new details. If you buy your pet ensure the microchip is then registered to your name, ask your vet to check. Read more about Microchipping.
* Spay or neuter your pet. This will help to keep them from wandering off, most lost pets are not neutered or spayed. It will also eliminate any resale value for breeding purposes. Unscrupulous breeders are looking for dogs to use for breeding and a neutered or spayed pet is useless to them. There are also lots of health benefits as well. Read more...
* Keep your pet indoors or in a secure enclosed garden, especially when you are not at home.
* Know where your pet is at all times.
* Keep recent photos and written descriptions of your pets. If you had to put up a picture of your pet on a poster would they be easily identifiable from the photos you have of them?
* Do not let your pet roam free outside of your house. A dog wandering outside of private property without an owner is illegal, is classed as a stray and it may be picked up and brought to the pound by a dog warden or, worse still, get stolen or injured.
* Don’t give out information about your dog to just anyone. If a stranger admires your dog, don’t answer questions about your dog such as your dog’s breed, how much you paid for your dog, or where you live.
* Don't give custody of your dog to anyone without a proper id.
Things You Can Do At Home:
* Don’t leave your dog out in the garden by themselves for long periods of time. Your dog may become a target if they are left unattended in your garden. Avoid leaving them in the front garden at all times as thieves may then see them and target them.
* Be especially careful where your garden is visible from the road. If you must leave your dog outside, lock all gates with padlocks and/or chains. Place padlocks and/or chains high so they are difficult for humans to get to.
* Make sure fences, walls or hedges are tall enough and strong enough to take a dog jumping up at or over them. Also ensure they can't easily be tunnelled under and seal any gaps in them.
* Equip all outside gates with an alarm/bell so you can hear visitors enter your property.
* Lock the doggy door when you are not at home. Take your dog out before you leave, bring them back in and lock the doggy door before you leave.
* Make sure your doors and windows are secure. If doors are left open, especially if your dog often escapes when the front door is open, fit baby gates. Keep ground floor or low windows shut so they can't jump out, especially in summer.
* Maintain an up to date licence for your dog. Keep all of your ownership papers that prove you own your dog in one place. These papers would include adoption papers, kennel club registration, bill of sale from breeder and most importantly your dog license.
* Make sure you have made an emergency preparedness plan (fire, etc) that includes your dog. Don’t ever leave your dog behind when you evacuate. Your dog could be stolen or could get lost.
* Be aware of strangers in your area. Report anything unusual such as suspicious neighborhood activities or missing pets to the police.
* Don't let your new cat venture outside for at least four weeks so she has time to bond with you and feels safe in her new home. Always supervise your new cat's first few outings as cats can roam good distances, they can get spooked easily, this is to ensure she doesn't stray into areas you don't want her to go into. You can do help to do this by training your cat to respond to you before you let them out, ie calling their name, letting get to know when they are getting food from you, ie shaking a box, hitting the tin with a fork, or saying dinner or treats. When you first want to let them outside in a morning do not feed your cat, let them stay outside for a few minutes with you and then call them back for their food, you can make the time outside longer each time once they come back to you when you call them. Keep them inside at night time, dusk and dawn. Indoor cats like healthier and longer lives generally than cats who have access to the outdoors.
Safety outside of the home
* You should never leave your pet in an unattended car. Locking the car doesn’t make it any safer for your pet. Besides the chance of your pet being stolen, there are possible health risks for your pet when they are left in the car. Leaving your pet in an unattended car, even for a minute, is an invitation for thieves. Just don’t do it!
* Leaving your dog up outside a shop is a big NO NO! One owner should always stay outside with your dog. If you need to go shopping on your own leave your dog at home. If leaving your dog at home isn’t an option, only shop at dog-friendly retailers!
* Don't let your dog off the lead in an unsecure area until you are 100% sure they will come back to you when you call them. You should only let your dog off lead in a safe and secure area as dogs can get scared by sudden loud noises or see something to chase and they may run off on you. Dogs that are loose in a non secure area can easily be stolen, get lost, can cause damage to themselves, someone or something else or be injured especially on roads.