More and more camping outings include the family dog. 50 Campfires thinks that’s great. A well-behaved dog adds a lot to any time outdoors. However, it also increases the odds of dogs being separated from their owners. If that happens, preparation will do more to ensure your dog is safely and quickly returned, than anything you can do after the fact.
Before you take your dog on a camping trip, your dog must reliably come on command – no matter what distractions or attractions are encountered. Nearly as important is a “whoa” command on which the dog stops in its tracks and waits for direction.
A microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, implanted under the skin between the dog’s shoulders instantly becomes a permanent identification tag. It’s as simple as administering a routine vaccine. No anesthesia is even required.
Unlike a tag or collar, an implanted chip can’t fall off, be easily removed, or become unreadable. When a dog is taken to a shelter, vet clinic, or law enforcement it will be scanned to see if it has been chipped. The information from the scanner will be called into a pet recovery service, and they will contact you. It’s inexpensive insurance to bring your dog home. If your dog is one you’ll consider breeding, some health certifications require chipping to permanently prove identification.
HomeAgain is a pet identification and recovery service that has reunited more than 2 million pets with their owners. For a small annual subscription fee, they maintain your pets registry in the HomeAgain National Pet Recovery database along with your contact information. They maintain a 24/7 call center to which you report your lost pet. Their specialists help guide you through the search for your pet and will post alerts across the HomeAgain network of vets, shelters, and pet rescuers in the area where your pet went missing. They even offer a 24-hour emergency veterinary hotline service to subscribers.
All dogs should wear collars imprinted with name and phone number of the owner. Big is best so it can be seen at a distance. While some debate including more than a phone number, the dog’s name is important because a finder can use it to call and calm the dog.
The tag that shows the dog is chipped and vaccination tags with your vet’s info are a good idea, too. Just remember, when anything hanging from the collar could get pulled off, so the embroidered info is the most important.
If you get separated, a high-visibility reflective collar gives you the best chance of spotting your dog. It also helps drivers see the dog crossing a road, especially at night. Choose a collar or bandana that makes your dog stand out – like an unusual color or pattern.
Good training will help prevent your dog from getting lost in the first place. The right planning and gear will help ensure a happy outcome if the dog does get lost.