Monday, March 14, 2011

My dog never gets out – right! Help your pets find their way home.

Three days. That's the amount of time your lost dog has before he or she is legally someone else's property. Bet you didn't know that. The provincial Animal Protection Act and City of Regina by-laws are very clear about ownership. While it seems a little harsh, it makes sure that animals are cared for rather than homeless.

Time and time again animal shelters hear the same story, “I didn't get a license because my dog or cat never gets out.” All it takes is once, and you've got a problem. That's why identification is so important – it's your pets best chance of finding their way back home. In Regina it also increases the number of days that your pet is your property from three to 10. There are lots of identification options with lots of pros and cons, so it's best for your pets to wear a bunch:

  • Tattoos - anyone can see that they're dealing with an owned dog. However, over time, they become difficult to read. And, if you've got a “used” dog who has already been tattooed, contact the veterinary clinic who did the original tattoo so they can update their files with your contact information.
  • Microchips are very permanent. However, they must be read using a scanner so they're not accessible for Joe Public to easily check. As well, some times the chip travels from the insertion point to other parts of the body, so they can be missed even by those who regularly use the scanners.
  • City licenses – typically connect your dog with the their most current owner contact information. However, they can fall off, so it's important to make sure they're tightly hooked to the collar. As a side benefit, they often they include a “get out of jail free card” saving you lots of money if your pet gets out and turns up a shelter.
  • Store-bought ID tags that contain name and contact numbers are great for people who live in areas without licensing bylaws like me. They're easy to read by anyone.
  • ID collars – because your dog's name and your phone number are embroidered onto the collar, they're easy to read. (Using a sharpie marker on a plain collar works too.) However, the collars themselves can fall off especially if your dog looses weight, or if it's loose.
  • Rabies tags – because this vaccine is highly controlled, this extra tag can lead your dog back home.
You can be proactive by keeping a file on each pet that contains all of their information - identification markings, health records, photographs, etc. A more high-tech option is to register your pets in advance on PetLynx. They connect lost and found dogs to owners, animal shelters, municipal animal services, and others. By creating a profile for each of your pets in advance, should they ever become lost, you won't waste time searching for their vital information and photos, you can simply change their status to lost and be connected to matching found dogs. They offer a free seven day trial, and have different upgrade packages.

If you lose your pet, be proactive – quickly! Because animals roam, it's important to contact your local and surrounding area humane societies and municipalities. By having your pets wear lots of identification, checking in with municipalities, and doing your own lost dog posting, you're more likely to help your pet come back home.


  1. One more great way to help bring lost pets home is through Social Networking sites. Many cities have a "lost dog alert" page on facebook, and there have been many successful reunions that way.

  2. What's the best approach for little dogs? I have a chihuahua who never wears a collar inside. When she's outside, she wears a harness. If she ever got out, chances are she wouldn't have her harness on. What would you suggest?

  3. Absolutely Jamey - if my dogs ever ran away, I'd be using all the channels possible - they'd have their own Facebook pages, I'd be calling the radio, etc.

    For the little Chihuah, I would definitely add an ID Collar and tag even for indoors (all it takes is once...), and be sure they were tattooed and microchipped. If you're in the city, get the license too - even if he's not wearing it at the time, it'll save you money if he ends up out.

  4. With this information dog owners will be aware on how to protect their dog from being lost. There are dogs that do not know how to find home and this post is useful.

  5. i guess your story is good and i will pray every dog will find their lost home soon.
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  6. I recently got a St. Bernard. He is three years old and as spry as ever. However, he has been limping a bit lately. He seems to avoid walking on one of his paws. I'd like to check his paw, but compared to me, he is as big as a bear. How do I get him to let me look at the paw?