Vacation Safety Tips
This summer, keep your dog safe!
If you plan to take your Frenchie with you this summer, do what one of our volunteers does, and make a special tag—a luggage tag works great for this—with your vacation address and contact information. Do this even if your dog is already microchipped. Lots of dogs seem to go missing on vacation or on holidays; the combination of relatives and friends who aren’t accustomed to closing doors and double checking gates, the dog’s anxiety attached to the new surroundings, and his unfamiliarity with the new environs can mean your dog has a better chance of getting out and running off.
If your dog gets lost without his collar or vacation tags, try not to panic. Do this instead:
1. Take a deep breath. Remain calm. Remember most lost dogs are returned or come home on their own.
2. Then, search your entire property thoroughly. Look places you would never think of, such as: behind all major appliances, inside all major appliances, in lower cabinets and cupboards, in sheds, garages, under stairs, in every single room of the house, including closets and linen closets. Look inside all vehicles. A dog might jump in an open car, and the door could shut behind them.
3. Walk around your neighborhood, talk to everybody, and give them your phone number. Take your cell phone and show a recent photo. Take business cards with you, or something to hand out with your info. Look in all pools and ponds, especially under pool covers; it is easy for a dog to slip underneath one.
4. While walking, call your dog’s name out loud, over and over. Keep an upbeat tone of voice so your dog does not think they are in trouble and hide. Whistle, make any noise they might recognize as YOU. Carry the dog’s favorite treat in case you have to lure your dog out of hiding. If there’s a sound your dog comes running for (we had a dog who came running when we banged the can opener against the dog food can), make that sound.
5. Make a flyer/poster with an identifiable picture of your dog, cross streets where he went missing, and your phone number. Use brightly colored paper to make it stand out. Post them within a 3-mile radius of where your dog was lost. If your dog is not recovered within 24 hours, expand the radius to 10-25 miles. Offer a reward. Some put a large amount up, and others do not give an amount, but say GENEROUS reward. Go with what feels comfortable to you. Sadly, there are scams that prey on pet owners’ feelings, so be wary of anyone who calls and wants to know the reward before telling you about your dog.
6. Place strong-scented articles of theirs or yours outside your home. Their dog bed, dirty socks, anything that will remind them of safety. Lost dogs can get disoriented and confused, and strong smells of home can help them find their way back.
7. Call local veterinary offices during the day. After 5 PM, call veterinary emergency clinics. Take them flyers to post. Many dogs have been recovered when a sharp-eyed tech saw a dog that was on a flyer in the waiting room!
8. Visit your local Animal Control, Humane Society, and Animal Shelter. Do not call, go in person or send a trusted person for you. Many shelter volunteers have no idea what a French Bulldog looks like. Go again every day.
9. Call the city, county, and state road crews, and DOT. Post flyers with these agencies if allowable. Ask to put flyers in break rooms or near time clocks for the crews to see.
10. Place an ad in local newspapers (all of them if you have several.) Many newspapers have free “Lost Dog” ads, take advantage of them. Check all of the newspaper “Found” ads every day.
11. Post to FBRN’s facebook page about your “Lost Frenchie”, and ask that it be cross posted. Use a good, clear photo and an accurate description of your dog. Include all details of when and where (cross streets) your dog went missing.
Even the best, most careful dog owners have had their dogs go walk-about, so don’t waste time in self-recrimination and feeling guilty. Instead, take that energy and plow it into finding your Fido! Of course, an ounce of prevention works best, so check out this link for some more great ideas on keeping your dog close to hand.