Preventing Pet Loss

Preventing Pet Loss: Heartbreak and Hope for a Reunion

by: World Animal Foundation

Pet owners may sadly experience the grim tragedy of pet loss. However, losing a pet can have a happy ending. By being prepared for the worst-case scenario and using microchipping, ID tags, and training, pet parents can be happily reunited with their lost pet. In this article, we’ll focus on preventable acts of loss.

Causes and statistics about pet loss

In a sample survey provided by the NIH of 303 participants, 123 pets, or 40.6%, died from diseases. It’s the most prevalent cause of death in pets. Diseases affect many pets, and not all are curable. The second segment is natural death and includes 106 or 35% of pets. Accidental death claimed 54 pets or 17.8%. The remaining 20 pets were lost to unforeseen circumstances. This 6.6% may be avoidable.

Ways to Prevent Pet Loss

Here are the most efficient tips for pet loss prevention:

  • Ensure safety and security of your yard

Whether it’s a new puppy or a rescue dog, prepare beforehand. Do a perimeter walk and make sure it’s escape-proof. Determined or curious, a dog can squeeze through a small space, leap over, or dig underneath. Invisible perimeter fences and electronic collars work well, but vigilance is the best method of keeping a pet secure. Cats are trickier to keep in a yard; they’re athletic climbers and can squeeze through tiny spaces. Also, remove chemicals like garden fertilizers and automotive products like anti-freeze, which is lethal for pets.

  • Microchipping and tagging pets

Microchips are an invaluable device that can save immense heartache. These miniature ID tags slip painlessly beneath a pet’s skin. If pets get rescued by a local animal shelter or control officer, it can happily reunite owners. The caveat is to keep contact info on a microchip updated and registered.

  • Use of GPS collars and leash

GPS dog trackers provide real-time location tracking, ensuring the safety of your furry friend. World Animal Foundation recommends using dog GPS trackers. These tracking collars have numerous advantages and are crucial for reuniting and protecting lost pets. Leash training will keep your dog safe until you are 100% certain your dog is reliable on recalls. For larger dogs, use a no-pull harness until you master heeling.

  • Training your pet to respond to calls

Unfortunate incidents can happen to furry friends. Teaching a dog to obey boundaries and commands takes effort. Perimeter fence training keeps your pet safe. Attending puppy or adult sessions is a unique bonding experience that protects your pet from accidents. Responding to calls and basic training and command cues are vital. Luckily there are many excellent programs like positive reinforcement, clicker, electronic, alpha, or relationship-based training.

  • Supervise your pets when they’re outdoors

Having a dog means enjoying the outdoors. When you leave your dog in a securely fenced area, there is a good chance they’ll be safe. However, if you leave them unsupervised, your dog may start to investigate getting out. When you’re in an open area, keep your dog on a lead, and make sure they’re wearing a collar with ID. If the dog escapes, don’t panic or chase. This is when you’ll apply your recall training or other commands like stop, down, etc., that they have mastered. Also, remain in the area as your dog might return to the area looking for you.

  • Ensure your pet’s safety during events

Whether it’s a family outing, a day at the beach, or hiking, your training skills and leash and collar come in handy. Noisy, crowded areas can overwhelm a dog even if they’re well socialized. If the event includes a long road trip, consider installing a restraining device to keep the dog safe as you concentrate on driving. For dogs that like to drive with the window down, buckling them in prevents them from jumping out windows.

  • Training Your Pet to Stay Close

There is no substitute for training. Basic commands like stay and come are essential, but your dog needs to learn to be reliable. Training means building a bond with your pet. It’s unrealistic to suggest that you’ll monitor your dog 24/7. However, teaching your dog boundary rules is achievable and keeps your dog safe when life’s impromptu circumstances intervene. Take extra precautions when you take your dog into unfamiliar parks or areas.

  • Spaying/neutering your pet

The benefits of spaying and neutering are numerous. It can protect dogs from health conditions, including sexually transmitted diseases like VD and testicular cancer. Further, the urge to mate and run away is removed, and they’re less likely to mark their territory with urine. Another significant benefit is the unwanted and overpopulation of animals.

  • Creating a Safe Environment for Your Pets

A safe home environment goes a long way to keeping your pets safe. Supply a fenced or invisible perimeter to keep your pets out of harm’s way. Keep gates and doorways fastened, and if you must leave a pet unattended, double-check that they can’t escape. Create a plan for emergency events, like the Humane Society Preparedness Tips. These rules don’t always work for cats. Keeping doors or windows closed or protected by screens will most often keep cats safe.

  • Give proper time and attention to your pet

Cats and dogs need affection and social interactions and entertaining them doesn’t have to be fancy. Pets benefit from physical and mental activity. Many gadgets can help, but again, you don’t have to overcomplicate them. Devote at least 1 to 2 hours of your attention to your pet daily.

  • Take extra measures during car rides

Going on a holiday or taking your dog to work are rewarding experiences. A safety harness while traveling is a great way to keep them safe. At least 10,000 dogs die in car accidents yearly.


  • Frequent pit stops to urinate and drink fresh water
  • To stretch their legs (not all dogs enjoy car rides)
  • Training to get them used to traveling in a car
  • Roll the window down a few inches to equalize air pressure
  • Control what they see (put them in the middle)
  • Withhold food if they experience severe motion sickness (not water)
  • Make them comfortable with a special toy or blanky
  • Train your pet to stay indoors in your absence

This means making your dog comfortable in your home while you’re gone. Many dog owners find that confining their dogs to one room provides pet safety and can prevent accidents.


  • A comfortable bed or crate they’re familiar with
  • Set a comfortable room temperature
  • Have access to water
  • Don’t have access to dangerous chemicals or household gadgets
  • Leave a radio or television on
  • Leave toys or use a camera/ communication device so they can hear you
  • Make sure they have time to relieve themselves before you leave
  • Always keep your pet’s documentation close

Microchipping and collar ID tags are vital. Keep your ID and microchip information updated, especially when you move. Register your dog with pet finder organizations.

In the event there is a mishap:

  • Keep vaccination and health records on file
  • Provide purebred registration certificates on hand
  • Microchip information
  • Current photo
  • Use a file folder or store the information on your telephone.
  • The Role of the Community in Preventing Pet Loss

The first rule of pet ownership within a community is to respect that your neighbor may not be a fan of your cat, dog, or other pets. However, introduce your pet and their habits to the community.


  • Respectful rapport by not allowing your dog or cat to trespass
  • An emergency plan and ask your community for help
  • Distribute posters on a community board or social media blog


As pet parents, we can’t prevent the inevitable loss of a beloved pet, but we can actively engage the tools of loss prevention by keeping our pets safe and protecting a pet’s life with many devices like training and tech gadgets.