My guest, Lorien Clemens, is the Director of Marketing at PetHub, which is a leader in lost pet recovery. You may be surprised and troubled to learn that 1 in 3 pets will go missing at some point in their lives, and less than 20% of dogs and 2% of cats that go missing will ever find their way home. PetHub’s mission is to help pet parents keep their pets at home and, if they do go missing, to help get them home as soon as possible.
Virginia: I’m on the phone with Lorien Clemens from PetHub. You help people get their pets home as quickly as possible. Is that right?
Lorien: That’s correct. The PetHub system helps lost pets get home through our digital ID tags and our technology suite.
Virginia: And, you’re also interested in helping people keep their dogs home in the first place?
Lorien: Absolutely. One of our biggest missions is not only lost pet prevention but, if the pet is lost, helping recover that pet, and helping people know all the tools that are available to them. That education piece is really really important to us. On our website, we have over 50 articles that are geared toward lost pet prevention and lost pet recovery.
Virginia: Also, you have a lot of articles on preparedness for emergencies.
Lorien: Exactly. In fact, we think the key to lost pet prevention, and quick pet recovery, should the pet get lost, is being prepared in the first place. Because, when you’re in a panic situation, it’s not the time to think “Oh my God, what do I do now?”. If you’re already prepared for it, if you already have a plan in place… a kit in place… you’re going to be much better off, and you’ll get your pet back more quickly, should it get lost.
Virginia: What do you think are the top things people should do to prevent their dogs from either getting lost or stolen…because some dogs do get stolen from time to time?
Lorien: Well, there’s a couple of different things. The first is not necessarily a way to keep from getting lost but is a key to getting home… The number one thing which we always recommend… is identification. Current, relevant identification, both internal and external. Internal, in the form of a microchip, and external, in the form of an ID. It’s one of those things that you can’t fix after your pet gets lost. You have to prepare ahead of time by having identification on your pet. That’s number one.
Second: it’s really important that you know your pet. One of the articles that we have on the site gives information that was new to me. I didn’t know that there were different personality types of dogs and cats and that each personality type has different propensities for getting lost and how they would get lost. So, knowing your pet, and knowing if your pet is adventurous, if he is super friendly, if he is easily scared… Knowing those things can help you set up the parameters at home, and in the way your dog interacts with the world around him, to help keep them from getting lost. You have to know your pet really well. You have to know his personality really well.
A follow-up to that would be: proper training of your pet. If he is very friendly, if he wants to meet everybody… you go to the dog park and he just wants to meet everybody… you need to have proper training. Then they know how they’re supposed to behave in public They have that trust that you are going to take care of them, because you’ve been training them and they know how they need to behave.
Another very important thing is to escape-proof your house and the yard around it. At PetHub we frequently hear from parents of what we call frequent-fliers. After they’ve been lost one or two times and we’ve gotten them home we’ll call them up and start a conversation about escape-proofing their house. We’ll talk through it. Sometimes people don’t necessarily know how the pets are getting out. We’ll go through those key exit points that we often see. A lot of times we’ll find out that they have, for example, a side door to the garage that’s very easy to get pushed open if they don’t latch it properly. Things like that. Then they can go through and take care of the house keeping things that they need to do to make it more likely that their pet will stay safe and secure inside.
Another thing that you may not think of…on the outside of your house, to prevent your pet from being stolen, make it so it’s not easy for him to be seen from the street, or from the sidewalk. A lot of times pet theft is not preplanned. Someone will be walking by and they’ll think “wow, that’s a beautiful dog in that backyard”, and it’s a crime of opportunity. So make it so people can’t see your pet when it’s in the yard.
The last thing I want to mention is that one of the key times that pets are lost or stolen is during transport…when you’re away from home. So it’s really key that you have them on a proper leash and harness (or collar, if the dog is one that does well with a collar), and make sure it’s really secure. Not one that easily slips out of your hand, or allows them to slip out. When they’re in the car, they need to be wearing seatbelts and a harness that is secure, so when you open the door to put in groceries, or whatever, they can’t bolt out. Or, have them in a carrier or crate that they can’t get out of, again, secured to the car. And never ever leave your dog tied outside the store. That’s one of the key ways that pets get stolen, is right out in front of stores.