Take steps to protect your furry friend from getting lost

By: Kara Szymanski | C&G Newspapers | Published February 28, 2019

 A privacy fence can help keep a dog from getting lost, and a dog’s collar should have a tag with contact information on it.

A privacy fence can help keep a dog from getting lost, and a dog’s collar should have a tag with contact information on it.

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METRO DETROIT — Something pet owners never want to experience is a moment of fear and regret while seeing that their little furry friend has taken an unplanned trip out of the house or yard.

There are experts who have mastered the task of preventing pets from taking those unexpected adventures away from home without us.

For doors, many experts recommend getting steel or glass instead of wood, as those materials prevent scratching.

Ken Kempkens, from the Humane Society of Macomb, sees these situations happen all the time and has many recommendations for pet owners.

Some steps that Kempkens recommended range from fencing to training your dog to know where it is allowed to go.

He said that regarding yards and gates, make sure that you are aware of whether your gate is open or closed, and watch to make sure gates get closed when you have guests who might forget or not know to close them.

“Always check to make sure gates are closed. People visiting your house are not as concerned about closing the gate as you are,” he said.

Mark Grzanka, the general manager from Kimberly Fence & Supply Inc. in Warren, said that there is a good accessory to have on your fence to help make sure that the gate is securely closed and your pet can’t get out.

“Another good thing to have on a fence is a self-closing hinge so that when guests open the gate, it will close the gate by itself with a latch and you won’t have to check to make sure it is closed,” said Grzanka.

Grzanka said that in terms of types of fencing, he recommends fencing with short pickets at the bottom to help prevent dogs from getting lost.

“There is an aluminum fence with short pickets at the bottom that prevents small dogs from getting out of the yard. It is a little more expensive, but it helps to prevent dogs from getting out.”

Grzanka also recommended a privacy fence as another possible option.

“Another good fence to get is a privacy fence. If a dog cannot see outside of the yard, they are less likely to want to get out of the yard because they won’t be able to see things on the other side. It helps to deter them from wanting to get out of the yard and chase things like squirrels,” said Grzanka.

“We were just quoting one of our customers yesterday about this fence; he had a small Chihuahua and was looking to get this fence. We went out and looked at the layout of his yard to give him an estimate,” he said.

Lastly, Grzanka said that having a sign on your fence is also a good way to remind guests to close the gate and prevent your little friend from taking an adventure out of the yard.

Kempkens said that if you don’t have a fence, it is best to keep your dog on a leash so that it knows where it is allowed to go.

“If your yard is not fenced, keep your dog on a leash or some other means to control its territory,” said Kempkens.

A dog that is not leashed may not know that it is not OK to wander a little farther each time. If you have a fence specifically for pets, make sure it is in working order.

“If you have an electrical underground fence, make sure the batteries are charged and in working order,” said Kempkens.

If your fence doesn’t work, your dog will not get the reminder to stay in the yard like they normally do and may feel the urge to explore elsewhere.

Another tip that he had was to keep an eye on your pet at all times, because it only takes a second for any dog to figure out the perfect way to sneak out to get that much-desired adventure run they have always dreamed of doing.

“Always know where your pet is,” he said.

If you do find that your dog is lost and you are unsure what to do, Kempkens said there are simple things you can do to start looking for them.

“Have a good picture of your dog that could be used for identification (and) maintain good vet records. They can also be used for identification,” he said.

Another good way is to make sure your dog knows where they are allowed to go.

“Train your dog to stay in your yard,” he said.

A dog that knows where they are allowed to go and not allowed to go won’t want to risk getting in trouble. Training is a good way to teach them.

Kempkens said you should always register your dog with your local city or county that covers licensing. They will then have all the information about your dog to help you find them.

“Make sure your dog is wearing a collar that includes your contact information, and make sure your dog is microchipped and the microchip is up to date if it was acquired from someone else. Most vets will do this for a reasonable fee,” he said.

“Make sure your dog is spayed or neutered. It is another sign that your dog is someone’s pet.”

Kempkens said that in the event that your dog is lost, check any missing animal posting sites and reach out to shelters.

“Check Love of Louie on Facebook to see if your pet has been listed as found. Contact all shelters in your surrounding area, and be prepared to send them a picture and information about your pet to identify it.”

Kempkens also said that if your dog gets lost and is delivered to a shelter, most shelters will hold your dog in case you call or come in looking for it.

“Most shelters will hold your dog for seven days if it has a collar or has been spayed or neutered. The first thing they will do is scan your dog for a microchip and/or look for anything that identifies the animal on its collar,” Kempkens said. “If your dog does not contain any identification, it can be determined to be property of the shelter and the fate of the dog will be at the shelter’s discretion.”

For more information on preventing a pet from becoming lost or on finding a lost pet, visit www.humanesocietyofmacomb.org/humane-society-lost-pets.