Thursday, June 26, 2008

Protecting Your Pet: Tips To Prevent Dog Loss

AAAG Note: Having a small GPS attach to a dog's collar was news to us. We suspect it could come in handy for the dog who can climb every mountain (or fence) and go on walk abouts.

(NAPSI)-There are approximately 74.8 million family dogs in the U.S. (APPMA, 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey) and the reality is that most are comfortable roaming a territory far more expansive than the average home or backyard. Unfortunately, this natural inclination to explore can often result in a dog being separated from his family. In fact, the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy found family pets are lost nearly every two seconds, resulting in more than 10 million missing pets each year.

Concerned owners can follow three simple tips to help ensure their dog stays safely at home and maximize the chance to find him quickly, should he escape.

• Loss prevention starts at home. All too often, doors, windows and gates are accidentally left open and dogs escape. Dog owners must ensure that all escape routes are secured. Fit external doors with self-closing mechanisms (such as storm doors and gates) and examine fences for gaps or holes.

• Dog tags and chips. Dog tags and implanted microchips are valuable methods that help identify a lost dog once they’re found. In order to work, you’ll have to keep the information up-to-date, including your most recent phone number. While these are important tools, they are passive and depend on others to find and return your lost pet.

• Doggy GPS is affordable and well worth it. Technology can play a powerful role in retrieving your lost pet. Originally developed for the military, powerful GPS tracking has recently been redesigned for monitoring pets and is available nationwide at places like PetSmart and Circuit City. Zoombak (www.zoombak.com) makes a small and affordable lightweight GPS locator that comfortably attaches to your dog’s collar and uses satellite GPS and mobile phone networks to keep track of your pet 24/7. An interactive Web site allows owners to easily set up “safe zones” such as your “backyard” or “park,” and if the pet leaves the zone you’ll receive an e-mail or text message alert on your cell phone, giving you the dog’s location so you can quickly find him. If you have a four-legged escape artist, GPS is definitely a worthwhile investment to help provide peace of mind.

Dog owners must be vigilant in the fight against dog loss. Following three simple tips--minimize opportunities for escape, keep identity tags current, and monitor your pet’s location--will help ensure you and your pet enjoy a long life together.

A family pet goes missing nearly every two seconds. Fortunately, GPS technology makes it easier to locate a lost or missing dog.

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