LOST PETS

 

We are proud to play an active role in reuniting lost and found pets with their owners in the South Lakeland area. If you choose to phone the surgery (on 01539 721344 or 01539 887988) or drop in with details of your missing pet, or one that you have found, the information will be passed on to local vets, animal charities and Lakeland Radio’s Pet Patrol.

PREVENTING PET LOSS

At Highgate Vets, we are contacted by people with lost pets almost every day and so to help minimise the number of affected pets in the future we’ve put together some tips to help avoid your pet going missing and to help get them home as quickly as possible if the worst does happen.

Identification

Unfortunately, many of the pets that we are told have gone missing do not have any identification to differentiate them from another of the same breed, colouring and gender. This can be easily avoided by taking the steps below.

Microchips

A microchip is ideal identification for both dogs and cats as it is effective for the pet’s lifetime, cannot be easily removed and is specific to the pet. It will become a legal requirement for all dogs to have a microchip by April 2016 and so the Dogs Trust are organising a scheme in association with vets where any dog owner can have their dog microchipped in exchange for a donation. We are currently hosting this scheme and you may make an appointment for a qualified nurse to microchip your dog by phoning us during our office hours.

Microchips are only helpful if the contact details held on the national databases are up to date. All of the microchips we place are uploaded to the Petlog database. To see how to update your pet’s registered details, click here.

Collars and tags

Dogs are legally required to wear a collar and tag with the owner’s name, address and postcode on it in public (under the Control of Dogs Order 1992). It is helpful too to ensure that the owner’s phone number(s) are also on it so that anyone who finds a straying dog can contact the owner quickly and directly. Reflective and light-up collars are available and ideal for dogs to wear when exercised in the dark. They make the dog far easier to see and so may prevent an accident.

Cats can wear “breakaway” collars that have a clasp designed to give way if they are put under slight pressure, such as the cat becoming caught on something. Some members of the public mistakenly think that cats that don’t wear collars are strays and so may try to return an outdoor cat to it’s owners via rescue shelters or vets, rather than allow it to continue its usual, normal habits.

MINIMISING THE RISKS

Dogs

  • Do not leave dogs tied up outside shops etc unsupervised.
  • Ensure that a dogs collar is properly fitted and so cannot be slipped off.
  • Ensure that your back garden/yard is secure.

Cats

  • Do not allow cats to go outside your home until they are at least 6 months old, microchipped, vaccinated and neutered.
  • Neutered cats are less likely to roam over a large area, so alongside reducing unwanted kittens, and the risk of illness, it makes your cat less likely to stray.
  • If you move house, keep your cat inside at first for at least 2 weeks old and so he/she can become used to their new surrounding before venturing into their new neighbourhood.

Photos – Ensure that you have photos which clearly show a pet’s markings so that they are most helpful in matching up a lost pet to one that has been found. Photos that show as much of the pet’s body as possible are ideal.

Finally, the Dogs Trust Straying Dogs report 2014 states that an estimated 110675 dogs went missing in the UK between April 2013 and March 2014. Only 50% of these dogs were returned to their homes. The total figure does not include dogs that have been returned home without help from the local authorities, such as by a member of the public or though a vets practice, and so the real figure will be much higher. Higher still is the number of cats that go missing each year. Please take steps to help ensure that your pet isn’t one of them.