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Lost Pet Advice: Missing on Vacation

Going on vacation is a great time for the entire family to spend quality time together. New surroundings, new activities, and a laid-back approach to having fun and enjoying life can renew everyone’s spirits, including your pets! However, if you decide to make your pets part of your travel plans, make sure to take the proper precautions. Whether you’re driving across the country, hiking and camping somewhere near home, or spending a weekend at the beach, vacation is one of the most common opportunities for a pet to become lost. Because you’re out of your pet’s familiar comfort zone, and are unlikely to know those around you, it may be even more difficult than usual to retrieve a pet that has gone missing during a family vacation.

Like always, making sure your four-legged friend is well-identified and correctly protected can go a long way from preventing a tragedy from occurring. At the very least, all pets should be up-to-date on their vaccinations and wearing a collar with heavy-duty ID tags that are difficult for the pet to remove. While on vacation, you may want to consider putting a GPS collar on your pet, giving him the freedom to roam, but not too far. Since most GPS trackers are good at locating your furry friend within a 5 mile radius, it’s ideal for trips to a campground or on the beach. Please note that most of these devices are unfortunately not waterproof.

ID tags should have the pet’s name, any medical conditions or allergies, and the owner’s contact information printed clearly and distinctly, and attached to the pet’s collar. PetHub takes things one-step up the technological ladder, providing owners with an additional engraved tag that is laser-etched with a unique QR code. When this code is entered in on the website or scanned with a smartphone, it will pull up your pet’s profile page, similar to a page a person may have on Facebook. This page puts all of your pet’s medical conditions, dietary needs, allergies, and more all in one easy-to-access place. Your pet’s profile can also be accessed through the 24/7 Found Pet Hotline number or the unique web address, both of which can be found on the PetHub tag. If the pet is reported lost, the owner’s contact details will be revealed to anyone who has found your lost pet and accessed your pet’s profile. In the end, this enables any Good Samaritan who finds your lost pet to help bring your furry friend home.

Another important precaution is to have your pet microchipped. This tiny device can be inserted underneath the pet’s skin with a long, thin needle, causing no more discomfort than the average vaccination. It contains not only your pet’s basic information and medical history, but your contact information. Even if your lost dog or cat somehow ends up in a shelter or emergency clinic a few states away, there’s the possibility for reunification. This simple procedure saves thousands of lives each year.

If your pet is missing on vacation, the first thing to do is to keep calm, and act quickly. The more quickly you respond positively to the situation, the more likely you are to find your pet while he’s still in the immediate vicinity. If you’re staying at a hotel, campground, or other lodgings, make certain to alert the management and owners of the venue that your pet is missing. It wouldn’t hurt to ask others staying there to also keep an eye out, just in case your furry friend is still roaming around the building. This is extremely common in hotels, where a pet may escape in search of food, or accidentally take an elevator ride.

If you’re staying in an area that has shops and restaurants within a few block radius, print up “Lost Pet” flyers, complete with a picture, and ask the owners and staff of these establishments to stay on the lookout. Especially when it comes to cats, many pets prefer to stay within a comfort zone, and will end up at the first place that seems comfortable, friendly, and offers food.

If none of these tactics offer any results, it’s time to start calling shelters, animal control authorities, local veterinarians, and emergency clinics. It is, of course, preferable that your pet is found close to home, safe, and healthy, but if someone has picked him up as a stray or he’s been in an accident, making these unpleasant calls will help you locate your lost friend.

Fortunately, most pets that go missing on vacation are hampered by the unfamiliar surroundings and boundaries established by the way campsites, hotels, and resorts are set up. You may be temporarily separated, but except for rare cases involving theft or injury, you’re likely to find your wayward friend wandering around pretty close to home.