The Coast News Group
One in three pets will get lost in their lifetime, and only 1 in 10 is found. Courtesy photo
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Give lost pets a better chance of returning home

July is Lost Pet Prevention Month, and for very good reason. While the fireworks and fanfare of Independence Day celebrations are a great deal of fun for us, they can be frightening and confusing for our pets. Most animal shelters like San Diego Humane Society saw a significantly higher intake of lost or stray animals in the days following July Fourth.

“This year, our campuses took in 276 stray dogs, cats and small animals who became lost from July 4–7,” said San Diego Humane Society Chief Operating Officer Jessica Des Lauriers. “Heartbreakingly, only 17% of those pets were reclaimed by their owners. We want pet parents to be vigilant year-round to prevent their pets from getting lost in the first place.”

Sadly, one in three pets will get lost in their lifetime, and only one in 10 lost pets is found. And for lost pets who are found roaming, a trip to the shelter may not be necessary — or the most effective way to help them find their family. In fact, by staying in the neighborhood where they were found, a pet’s reclaim rate jumps up to 70%.

So what should you do if you find a lost pet — whether it’s after July Fourth or anytime during the year? These steps may be all it takes to get Fido or Mittens back to their family:

• If you’re able, foster the animal in your home for a few days. Separate them from your own pets and give them food, water and a safe place to stay while you try to find their family.

• Take a photo and post the animal on your social media, Nextdoor and Facebook groups, and other online lost and found pet pages like Petco Love Lost. You can hang some flyers in the neighborhood or even put a “Found Pet” poster in your front yard or car window.

• For lost dogs, try leashing and taking them for a walk. The owners may be out searching, or your neighbors might identify the dog.

• Take the animal to a vet’s office or pet store to scan for a microchip.

• Submit a Lost Pet Report with San Diego Humane Society.

If all else fails, or if you cannot safely keep the animal, bring them to your local animal shelter. Organizations like San Diego Humane Society will treat, care for and ultimately rehome an animal if their family is unable to be found.

Of course, the best prevention against losing your pet to begin with is a microchip and a collar with up-to-date tags.

In a pinch, you can simply write your phone number on the collar with a Sharpie. And when those fireworks go off on the Fourth, remember to keep your furry family members safely indoors and give them extra love to get through the stressful sounds.

For more tips about what to do if you find a lost pet, or to submit a Lost Pet Report, visit