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Lost Pet Prevention Month: How You Can Help Your Pet

Pets are a part of the family. The last thing you want is for something to separate them from you – a door is left open, your dog slips out of its collar, or your cat takes an unapproved field trip without you. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 pets will become lost at some point in their lifetime. Tragically, many of these pets may not ever find their way back home. Losing a pet is like losing a loved one. It’s an experience no one should ever have to go through. National Lost Pet Prevention Month serves as the perfect reminder to make sure your pet stays safe and doesn’t get lost. 

Here are 6 helpful tips to make sure you don’t lose your pet: 

1. Microchip your pets. Microchipping is a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to increase the chances that your pet will return home if lost. A microchip is a tiny electronic chip, about the size of a grain of rice, that is injected under your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. When scanned by a microchip scanner, the microchip transmits an identification number. Animal shelters and veterinary clinics scan a pet’s microchip to get this identification number, then contact the registry in order to find contact information for the owners. The unique identification number doesn’t do any good unless you register it with a National Pet Recovering Database with your up-to-date contact information. Not sure which company to call? Type in your pet’s chip number at https://old.petmicrochiplookup.org/. Can’t find your pet’s chip number? Come by our clinic or any clinic and just ask them to check it for you. Planned PEThood offers microchips through our Spay/Neuter Clinic and our Wellness Clinic for only $25 and that includes registration. 

2. Get a secure collar with ID tags. While your pet may never travel farther than your backyard or may never go outside at all, all pets should wear a collar with an ID. The ID should have their owner’s current contact information, including your pet’s name, your name, address, and phone number. You never know when your furry friend might make a mad dash out the door to investigate something. It’s important to check your dog’s collar routinely to make sure it’s still in proper shape. Collars can become loose and fall off or become torn. Tags are available at most pet stores and even many Walmart locations. 

3. Use leashes and carriers when outside the house. It’s important to use leashes or carriers when visiting the vet or when venturing outside. When you have your pets outside and not confined by a fenced yard, keep them on a leash. This will ensure they don’t run off to chase a squirrel and end up getting lost. This is especially important when you’re away from home in unfamiliar territory.

4. Secure your yard and home. One of the most common ways pets get lost is when they escape their yard. Make sure to routinely check the fencing around your yard to ensure they can’t wiggle through it or dig their way out. From fallen limbs to flash floods, many things can cause fences to become insecure, making it easier to escape. 

5. Make sure to spay/neuter your pets. Sterilizing your cat/dog reduces his/her urge to roam and get lost. When male pets aren’t neutered, they have a higher tendency to seek out females. This means that an unneutered pet is more likely to wander off from home and get lost trying to seek out female dogs. Female dogs also benefit from spaying surgery. Aggressive males can cause females to bolt. Male pets that haven’t been neutered also experience behavioral issues that make them less likely to recall or listen to commands. 

6. Pay attention to your pet. Paying attention to your pet is an easy way to prevent your pet from getting lost. No matter where you take your pet, you should pay attention to them and their surroundings, especially in unfamiliar locations. Your pet should always be in eyesight of you. Whether they’re in your backyard, at a dog park, or visiting friends or family, supervising your pets will prevent them from escaping. 

Keeping your pets safe, happy, and healthy is the most important thing you can do. Even if you believe you are the safest pet parent in the world, it’s a good idea to review these tips. While you’re at it, give them a big hug!

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Microchipping: What It Is and Why You Should Do It

Pets are a part of the family. If something were to separate them from you – a door is left open, your dog slips out of its collar, or your cat takes an unapproved field trip without you – you’d want a way to reunite with them as quickly as possible, right? Microchipping is a safe, easy, and inexpensive way to significantly increase the chances of your pet’s reunion should the unthinkable happen.

1 in 3 pets will become lost at some point in their lifetime. Tragically, many of these pets may not ever find their way home without a little help. A microchip can mean the difference between being reunited with your furry friend and never seeing them again. We occasionally see cats brought into our Spay/Neuter clinic for our TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) services that are thought to be stray cats. That doesn’t always end up being the case. Sometimes these “stray” cats are actually missing pets and because of their microchip, we are able to reunite them with their owner, like in Cali’s story. We wouldn’t be able to have these happy reunions without microchips. 

Did You Know? 

Here are some disturbing, but true facts about lost animals:

  • Dogs without microchips are reunited with their owners only 2.2% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs are returned 52.2% of the time.
  • Cats without microchips are reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats make it back home 38.5% of the time.
  • Microchipped pets are over 20 times more likely to be reunited with their families, making microchipping extremely worthwhile.
  • 1 in 3 pets will become lost at some point in their lifetime.

How Microchips Work

A microchip is a tiny electronic chip, about the size of a grain of rice, that is injected under your pet’s skin, typically between the shoulders. The procedure only takes a few seconds. While it’s not entirely painless, it doesn’t hurt any more than getting a vaccine. The microchip is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area. Each microchip has an identification number. When the microchip is scanned by a vet or shelter, it transmits this number. Animal shelters and veterinary clinics scan a pet’s microchip to get this identification number, then contact the registry to find contact information for the owners. The microchip is NOT a GPS device and cannot track your animal if they get lost. 

Importance of Registering Your Information and Keeping It Up to Date

HERE’S THE CATCH – the unique identification number doesn’t do any good UNLESS you register it with a National Pet Recovering Database. When you register your pet’s microchip, you should enter all relevant contact information. Remember to keep your contact information up-to-date! A microchip greatly increases the chances of your pet being reunited with you if they get lost, BUT, only if your information is up to date! Not sure which company to call? Type in your pet’s chip number in microchiplookup.org Can’t find your pet’s chip number? Come by our clinic or any clinic and just ask them to check it for you. As long as you don’t mind waiting a bit, practically every clinic will do this as a free service for you. 

Where to Get Microchips

Planned PEThood offers microchips through our Spay/Neuter Clinic and our Wellness Clinic for only $25 and that includes registration. Most other veterinary clinics offer this service as well, ranging from $25-$75. 

Another great resource to help find your pet is Petco Love Lost. Petco Love Lost helps reunite lost pets with their families. Simply enter a photo of your missing pet and search their national lost and found database to find them. Learn more about Petco Love Lost.

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Help for 227 Gwinnett County Pets and Their Parents

Planned PEThood’s outreach team, Go Fix Georgia, teamed up with Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement to provide free vet care and supplies to pet owners in need on Saturday, April 15th. In just four hours, 165 dogs and 62 cats received much-needed assistance including 200 FREE rabies vaccines, 214 FREE distemper vaccines thanks to Petco Love, and 152 FREE microchips!

The need for outreach events like this continues to increase unfortunately as the cost of pet food and veterinary care soars. The need was obvious as dozens of people lined up early in the morning hours before the event started. Our team ran ahead of schedule the entire time and was able to help every owner who showed up. 54% of pets had not been spayed or neutered, with most of that percentage never having been to a vet before in their life! We plan to continue working with Gwinnett County and other counties to host outreach events like this in the future. 

There were so many amazing organizations and volunteers that came together to help make this event such a success. Without their support, this would have never been possible. THANK YOU! Our Go Fix Georgia team could not have done it without our event sponsor, Fix Georgia Pets, or without the assistance of Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement.

Event Sponsor:

Fix Georgia Pets

Other Assistance Provided By:

Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement

Petco Love

Atlanta Humane Society

The Original Poop Bags

Department of Agriculture Spay/Neuter Tag

Make sure to check our newsletters and emails for upcoming dates! We are always looking for partner companies or individuals to sponsor outreach events. Please email tweaver@PEThoodGA.org if you or your company might be interested in giving back.

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Learn How to Keep Pets Safe During Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month

March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month.  

The perfect time to learn about the dangers of accidental pet poisonings and how to prevent them. Understanding what potentially harmful poisons exist in your home and yard is the first step to keeping your pet safe. Some common items are very obvious but others might be new to you. Often when pets are accidentally poisoned by something, it’s safe for humans but toxic to pets. 

Below are the most common items that are toxic to pets to help keep your pets safe. Ensuring that your pet doesn’t ingest them will be well worth the time and effort needed to keep them a safe distance away. 

Many foods that are safe for people to eat can be deadly to pets. Keep the following toxic foods away from your furry companions. 

    • Chocolate
    • Xylitol (found in sugar-free products and peanut butter so be sure to check the labels)
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Grapes and raisins
    • Onions
    • Garlic
    • Alcohol
    • Coffee

There are several plants that are especially toxic to pets. These are just a few of the plants. Visit this website to learn more about poisonous plants. 

    • Lilies (especially around Easter)
    • Tulips
    • Daffodils
    • Azaleas 
    • Lily of the Valley
    • Sago’s palm
    • Olender
    • Hyacinths 
    • Rhubarb leaves

Each year, ASPCA receives many calls related to the ingestion of over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, cold medications, and herbal supplements. Never give your pet a medication that is not approved for veterinary use. Keep all medications (both RX and over-the-counter) away at all times and never leave pills lying around in purses and backpacks.

Prescription animal medications are often flavored to increase palatability, so pets may mistake them for treats and eat more than prescribed. Keep all medications out of your pet’s reach. Animals can chew through plastic bottles, so child-proof may not mean pet-proof!

Many household cleaners and other products can be used safely around pets. However, the key to safe use lies in reading and following product directions for proper use and storage. Read labels carefully on items like Bleach, Essential Oils, Insecticides, Detergents, and Paint.

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Poisoning:

Pets who have been poisoned may behave strangely or only exhibit mild symptoms. Signs of poisoning in dogs and cats can range tremendously based on the underlying poison. While this list is not exhaustive or complete, some common signs of poisoning generally include:

    • Vomiting or diarrhea
    • Excessive drooling
    • Inappetance
    • Excessive thirst or urination
    • Weakness or lethargy
    • Pale gums
    • Coughing or vomiting of blood 
    • Nausea
    • Racing heart rate

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these items or any other questionable substance, call ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435, Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661, or your veterinarian for assistance. 

When it comes to poisoning, the sooner you treat your dog and cat, the better the outcome. Pets love to chew on all kinds of things, so please keep any potentially dangerous items and substances out of your pet’s reach. 

Learn more about the warning signs, common dangerous substances, and other resources at: 

    1. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/basics/signs-of-poisoning-in-dogs-and-cats/ https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control 
    2. https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/pet-poison-prevention-infographics-and-resources 

Here are a few emergency vets local to Duluth, GA. It’s a good idea to keep your local emergency vet’s information on your fridge in case an emergency ever arises. 

Sources:

https://www.aaha.org/your-pet/pet-owner-education/ask-aaha/Household-Toxins/
https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-safety-tips/national-poison-prevention-week-march-20-26/

 

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Grinch Helps Habersham

On a cold and rainy day in December, 220 pets received much-needed assistance in Habersham County. Planned PEThood’s outreach team, Go Fix Georgia, teamed up with Habersham County Animal Care and Control to provide free vet care and supplies to pet owners in need. In total, 133 dogs and 87 cats received assistance and 150 pets received free spay/neuter vouchers. 

The need for outreach events like this is obvious. Hundreds of people lined up early in the cold morning, some arriving hours before the event started. For hours, staff and volunteers helped a continuous line of animals whose owners drove through the pop-up event. Habersham county residents do not have easy access to low-cost veterinary services, and as a result many pets in the community are unable to see a veterinarian and get basic care.

There were so many amazing organizations and volunteers that came together to help make this event successful – including the Grinch. His heart really did grow three sizes!

Without their support, this would never have been possible! THANK YOU!

Event Sponsored in part by: BISSELL Pet Foundation, Atlanta Humane Society, Petco Love, GA Department of Agriculture, Fi Nano Microchips

You can read more about the event in the local newspaper article.

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