How safe is your dog, really?
We just wanted to touch on dog identification, since it is often overlooked or forgotten but is so incredibly important.
We can't quote the exact stats, but know that many dogs go missing every day... and as you can imagine we've found a fair few on our daily travels. The key to how quickly lost dogs are reunited with their families relies precariously upon a tiny tag that may or may not hang off their collar.
Many owners don't even think their dogs could go missing, because often the reasons they do so are quite unpredictable... some examples might include:
- Property fencing has degraded over time, owners haven't noticed
- Property fencing has broken/blown over due to extreme weather
- Gate has been accidentally left open, sometimes by visitors
- Dog has become frightened due to storm/fireworks and fled
- Dog has separation anxiety and has scaled the fence
- Dog has tunnelled under the fence
Going missing is a frightening and dangerous experience and something that we recommend owners protect their dogs against, to the best of their ability (e.g. check fencing, self-shutting gates or 'shut the gate' signs, etc). But occasionally these situations can't be avoided, and it's an extremely good idea to be prepared regardless. You can do this by ensuring your dog's identification is up to date so they can return home ASAP.
Most dog's have three forms of identification.
Heads & Tails dogs have four:
1. Council registration tags (heavy duty printed plastic)
2. Microchip (implanted)
3. Your own tag (usually metal, engraved, attached by metal ring)
4. Heads & Tails tag (heavy duty printed plastic)
In the case that your dog does go missing, relying on only the first two identification methods usually involves a scary trip to the pound where your dog is handled by unfamiliar people in a stressful environment. You are then usually obliged to pay a dog-at-large fine. Whether the pound is able to make contact with you depends on whether you have registered your dog with the Council, and/or whether your contact details are up to date in their system. Microchips are at risk of failing in this regard: dog owners often register their microchip details when their dog is a puppy, and forget to update them when changing phone numbers or moving house. Microchips can also travel within a dog's body, and a large number are suspected to be potentially faulty worldwide (read more here).
Now, think of all the fuss you can avoid if you simply ensure your dog is wearing his/her own tag, complete with two contact phone numbers and your current address. Some dogs have the added security of these funky collars, too. Be sure to check your tag every couple of months to ensure your details are still visible and haven't worn away. We also advise using a heavy-duty split ring (pictured below) to affix your tag, as sometimes leads are mistakenly attached to split rings, causing them to unravel. These can be purchased at your local hardware or office supplies store; they are much thicker and more durable than the rings supplied with your dog tag to begin with. For extra insurance, use two!
The Heads & Tails crew have an extra card up their sleeve... or, on their collar! Our four-legged mates enjoy the added protection of our super tough plastic tags (complete with serial numbers) as a free inclusion of their service. This means that no matter what happens to their engraved tag, microchip or Council registration, they have a permanent lifeline with us. Though no one has gone missing whilst adventuring with us, our tags have already saved dogs "wagging" from home on EIGHT occasions since implementation in 2015. We think that's pretty awesome. After all, we care for dogs as family members, not just pets!
When we come back to WHY dogs escape - often this is because they are bored and looking for entertainment. We provide excitement and adventure to dogs while their owners are at work so all they do at home afterwards is sleep. If your dog is a family member who could do with some extra care during the day, simply send us an email and we'll be happy to help.
Want to get to know us a little more first? Follow our Facebook page where we post daily updates of our tail-waggingly awesome adventures.
Til next time, happy walking!