The ASPCA recently published a new national study that dealt with lost dogs and cats. Over 1000 pet guardians were chosen randomly and contacted by phone. The objective was to find out how many pets have been lost and how many ultimately made it home. The study also sought advice from successful pet parents regarding how to find a lost pet.
The results of the study are actually quite surprising:
Only 15 percent of owners had lost a dog or a cat in the past five years
Around 85 percent of those lost pets were recovered
The percentage of dogs and cats lost is almost the same: 14 percent for dogs and 15 for cats
Only 74 percent of lost cats were recovered, while 93 percent of lost dogs were recovered
How Were the Lost Pets Found?
The ways in which the pets were returned might also surprise you:
Forty-nine percent of dogs were found in the nearby area, while 15 percent of the dogs were recovered because they were wearing an ID tag or had a microchip
About 59 percent of cats returned home on their own, and 30 percent were found in the neighborhood
Only 6 percent of dog guardians and two percent of cat guardians found their lost pets at a shelter
What We Can Learn From the Results
First and foremost, it’s important to have your pet microchipped. Keep in mind, however, that since most lost pets do not end up at a shelter or vet, the microchip may not help. This is where ID tags become essential.
New ID tags are available with QR codes that can be scanned with any smartphone (a free app for QR codes is available for all smartphones). You simply enter the information you think is important on the internet. It’s a free service and your pet will have his or her own page that can be seen after scanning the tag code. The tags are available in a house shape for cats and small dogs, as well as in a bone shape for medium to large dogs.
The earlier you start looking for your pet, the higher the chances will be that you’ll find it in the neighborhood. Start asking the neighbors and hanging posters right away.
Hopefully you’ll never have to think about how to find a lost pet, but you never know when they’ll decide to go out in the world by themselves. So, be sure to add an ID tag to their collar. You’ll be happy you did!