The results of what is believed to be the first published national study on lost pets may surprise you. The actual percentage of cats and dogs reported lost was lower than researchers expected, but the percentage of lost dogs safely returned to their homes was higher than they anticipated.
"There were several surprises from our study," reports Dr. Emily Weiss, a certified-applied animal behaviorist and vice president of shelter research and development for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "I think we have made an assumption about the stray pets in shelters -- assuming that those animals are lost pets with owners that are actively seeking them. While some of those dogs and cats are in fact lost, many of them are likely to be dogs and cats that are truly homeless."
The ASPCA conducted a survey of 1,015 pet households, and the findings of its five-year effort are published in the June 2012 issue of the journal Animals.
More from Vetstreet.com: Dog Tags 101: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Pet Safe
Findings of First National Lost Pet Survey
Among the key findings:
- Only 15 percent of pet guardians reported a lost dog or cat in the past five years.
- Percentages of lost dogs versus lost cats were nearly identical: 14 percent for dogs and 15 percent for cats.
- 93 percent of dogs and 75 percent of cats reported lost were returned safely to their homes.
- Only 6 percent of dog owners and 2 percent of cat owners found their lost pets at shelters.
- 15 percent of dogs were found because they were sporting identification tags or microchips.
Provide Your Cell Phone on Pet's ID Tag
To better the odds of being reunited with their owners, Dr. Weiss advises that pets should be microchipped and wear identification collars with easy-to-read contact information.
"We suggest that the tag should have the cell phone number of the pet parent, the cell number of an emergency contact, the land line of the pet parent, and if the person is comfortable doing so, the street address of their home," she says.
Dr. Weiss urges owners to begin checking their area animal shelters the first day their pet goes missing. She also recommends bringing in a clear photo of the pet to help officials identify the cat or dog and possibly hasten the reunion.
The information from this study is expected to help ASPCA officials develop programs that may increase the likelihood of owners finding their lost pets.
pics, advice, info and stories for pet lovers
Take a look at your house for these telltale signs that a cat is running the show.
Check out this list of requirements you should meet before getting a new puppy or adult dog.
Much like their famous owners, these pooches live a fabulous life. Some are rescues, others purebred, but one thing is certain – these dogs play an important part in their famous parents' lives. Can you guess who owns each of these dogs?
Pets are part of many children's lives. Learn how to help them foster strong, healthy relationships.
If you live with a feline companion, you know that cats can be quirky and totally entertaining. (Even if they'd never admit it in a million, trillion years.) Here are just a few of our favorite cat-isms, some with sandpaper tongue firmly in cheek. Did we miss any of yours?
Tummy troubles in your four-legged friends? Carrageenan in their pet food may be to blame.
There's more to choosing the perfect dog for your family than walking into a shelter and saying, "Find me one that looks like the dog from Marley and Me." Choosing a dog is more like buying a car. You want one that isn't just good looking, but is also a perfect fit for your family and lifestyle (and won't leak in the garage). Here are 8 great tips to help you determine the perfect pooch for your pack. By Jeremy Greenberg
CEO says, "it was one of the best ideas of my life"
Before you jump into marriage counseling, take a look at our list to see if you truly do love your dog more than your spouse.
Spring break isn't just for humans anymore. Cats and dogs know how to have fun in the sun, too, and would love to tag along on your vacation. In honor of the warm and relaxing days ahead, here are 15 pets catching some rays, going on hikes and floating in the pool.
Injuries often happen when dogs are outside chasing tennis balls or playing at dog parks. Because yours needs regular exercise, it can be difficult to protect him from many accidents.