Easy Ways to Keep Your Pet Secure

Lauren from L Bee and the Money Tree wrote recently about how her dog, Murray, decided to take a little jaunt around the neighbourhood at 11pm in the middle of the rain storm, leaving her a nervous wreck until she found him. While this story ends well, it’s one we’ll all familiar with. I’ve been…


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Last Updated: May 31, 2023

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Easy Ways to Keep Your Pet Secure
Michelle’s dogs

Lauren from L Bee and the Money Tree wrote recently about how her dog, Murray, decided to take a little jaunt around the neighbourhood at 11pm in the middle of the rain storm, leaving her a nervous wreck until she found him.

While this story ends well, it’s one we’ll all familiar with. I’ve been a victim of it myself. My dog Molly pulled the same trick on me last summer, except she was a full half mile away when she was found.

Dogs and cats disappear every day. Some estimate that 10 million are reported missing every year. If you own a pet, odds are, it’s going to give you the slip at some point in its life, and go missing. Hopefully your story will have the same happy ending mine and Lauren’s did, but to improve those odds, here are some ways you can keep your pet keep your pet from escaping, and help ensure it’s found quickly.

Secure Your Parameter

Many, many dogs will take any opportunity to go exploring their neighbourhood, and an open backyard gate the perfect temptation. To help protect against this possibility, install an automatic closing device on your gates to ensure that if they are left open for any reason, they’ll close on their own.

In addition to this, consider installing an underground electric fence, which will deter against fence digging and wandering out of an open gate. I have one installed around the parameter of my property, and my dog Molly has rarely wandered off. The cost of one of these fences can be as low as a few hundred dollars, and is money well spent. There are even options available for cats!

Register Your Pet

In most cities, dogs are required to be registered, and will receive an ID tag to attach to their collar. This ID tag will contain a ID number and toll free number to call. Anyone who finds a dog with an ID tag, will have a way of getting in contact with the owner.

One caveat to this method: Don’t forget to update your pet’s info when you move! Otherwise, your contact information will be out of date and the people who found your pet will have no way of getting in contact with you. Registrations are typically inexpensive, renewable yearly and often required by law.

Microchip Your Pet

This is a great option for both cats and dogs, and is widely available at your local vet’s office. Instead of an ID tag, the vet will insert a small microchip underneath your pet’s skin. The chip will be readable by a scanner that most vet’s offices and animal shelters are equipped with. This is particularly beneficial if a pet is found by animal control.

It also has the benefit of always being with your pet, even if they slip out of their collar and have no tags on them. As I mentioned above, don’t forget to update this information when you move! This isn’t typically expensive, it cost me $10 to have my dog Molly microchipped at the SPCA.

Have a “Go” Plan

Sometimes, despite your best intentions, your pet ends up missing. In these situations, having a plan in place to recover your pet could mean the difference between a few hours of searching and a few weeks. Have a “Lost Pet” poster prepared and saved on your computer, so that you can easily and quickly print out several posters to put up around the neighbourhood. Become acquainted with the local lost pets Facebook groups and message boards so you can quickly and easily get the word out to the local community. Finally, don’t forget to call your local shelter and vet’s offices with a description of your pet, in case animal control or a concerned citizen turns him or her in. By quickly publicizing the fact that you are looking for your pet, you increase the number of people keeping an eye out, thus increasing the chances your pet will be found.

No one likes to think about the fact that some day, you might be trudging the streets of your neighbourhood, calling your pet’s name. By taking these simple and inexpensive precautions  you can minimize the chance of harm coming to your pet, and increase the odds of a happy ending to your pet’s adventure.

Have you ever lost a pet? I want to know!


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Author: Jordann

Jordann is a part time runner, yogi, local foodie and personal finance aficionado. She’s also a full time marketing professional living and working in Atlantic Canada. She writes about her life at her blog, My Alternate Life.

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  1. myfijourney

    My cat managed to escape once. He figured out how to push the screens out of the windows and went for a wild night on the town. I was very worried, but he came back. Ever since, I've had to block the screens with a box fan so that he can't push them out any more.

  2. My dog has ran away a few times before =( Luckily, he's always come back. He's blind now so I hope that he never gets away again.

  3. Brian

    My parents had a cat that just decided to live in someone else's house for a week. She was an indoor/outdoor cat and would hang outside most of the day and the come in at night. One night she didn't come in, which was no big deal it was really nice out, Then another night and another… soon it was a week. We put up signs in the area and someone from the next neighborhood over called and said they had our cat. She just walked into their house one night and decided she was going to live there. We got her back home and she never did it again. We decided that all she really wanted was a vacation away from the dog.

  4. John S @ Frugal Rules

    Wow, 10 million are reported missing each year? Our cat got out once years ago. He got himself so freaked out that he had no clue what was going on. He's always been an indoor cat and just scared him half to death by getting outside. Our biggest worry now is one of the kids trying to maul him. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. We plan on getting a dog this summer and one thing we absolutely have to do before then is make sure the fence is sealed completely. The corners may be an issue as they don't come together completely (most of the fences are our neighbors, not ours, hence the slight disconnect. These are some other good tips, as well. Thanks for sharing!
    My recent post Friday Giveaway Roundup – 147 Giveaways

  6. I have never lost a pet yet but for about 10 minutes had thought so. Our house was broken into about 18 months ago and my wife called me telling me this and said neither the cat or dog would respond to her when she called for them. The back door was wide open so I told her to go to the neighbors and the rest of the way home (10 minutes), I thought both pets, mainly the dog were gone. Once I got home I searched the house and the person locked them both in the bedroom up stairs. We were relieved.
    My recent post Insurance Update

  7. Dogs can travel quite a distance when they are "lost." It's how many of them end up for adoption through local shelters and rescue foundations. If your dog is Houdini and can escape almost any enclosure, make sure they are chipped and have an ID tag!

    Many years ago one of our cats got locked outside of our apartment for hours. Thankfully, he hung around our front door until we realized our other cat was acting funny, sitting next to the front door for hours. Good thing we decided to open the door!

  8. The Norwegian Girl

    well, my first dog used to run away, but it was more like "hey I´m running this way and you can`t catch me" along the freakin`HIGHWAY.. and one time he ran into a pasture where a big bull resided, because he was running after some chickens.. And one time he decided to run of in Stockholm (Capital of Sweden), but all the times he ran of, I was always running like crazy after him. My family`s dogs have both microchips and nametags with phonenumbers on their collars, in case they run of. Luckily they`ve never done anything like my first dog used to. Thank GOD!

  9. I can't believe someone would do this! I'd be pissed!

  10. I've never actually lost a pet. One time my dog got out but we chased her. She eventually came back but I was crying at that point already. Haha I just love my fur babies!

  11. Jenny@FrugalGuru

    I microchipped and registered my dog. I had a fenced yard. The dog learned to climb and dig. (Yes, some dogs climb fences…) I added an invisible fence. The dog figured out that if she came at the fence REALLYREALLY fast, she could get over before she got zapped too much. Eventually, she had to be on a chain when she was outside in our fenced and invisible fenced back yard. It was an enormous pain, but with a Houdini dog, there weren't any other options at that point!
    My recent post Your Shoes Are Not An Investment

  12. debtroundup

    I have not lost a pet, but my mother in law lost her dog the day after she got him. I was able to locate him using a website and she got him back the next day. Our dogs are chipped, but I don't think we have updated the data in a long time. I might need to go in and check that.

  13. therandompath

    My cat is microchipped. I'd be devestated if anything ever happend to him ๐Ÿ™
    My recent post If You Could Go Anywhere

  14. Canadianbudgetbinder

    Our dog has taken off before and left me high and dry in the woods but always comes home. I have my dog micro-chipped which was one of the best investments I've made with him. I'd hate to think that he was lost and then found and no one knew where he lived. Those tags we get sometimes fall off and aren't always the best identification.
    My recent post My Debt Story: How I Paid Off $100,000 In Debt (And How You Can Too)

  15. kimateyesonthedollar

    Our dogs have gotten out of the yard a few times. Once the town marshall picked them up for us. Such is life in a small town, but it it is a terrible feeling when you realize they are gone.

  16. Wow, 10 million? That's a whole lot of numbers. We had our share of heartaches when we lost our puppy once. After much searching, we couldn't find her. After a few months, we got another one and we've been taking good care of our little ball of fur ever since.
    My recent post What is a Trust Fund?

  17. Hi Jordann ,

    Actually I do not have the same happy ending as you and Lauren. Three years ago I lost my cat Sara, but was not able to found her back.
    If I would have done the things you mentioned in your post, she might be with me.
    Approximately 10 millions are missing every year. That is a big number!

    Obviously we love our pets and don’t want them to be lost. In case they do if they adapt the things you mentioned it will be much easier to get to them.

    Next time I will adapt a pet I will remember your words.

    With regards,

  18. Jay

    Thanks for the great tips Jordan,

    luckily my dog has never run away from home, he is a good dog. when we went out we used a dog leash it’s very helpful so far

  19. Katy

    great post, thanks for the great information !!

  20. Karl Prescott

    Hey Jordann, I just wanted to say this is a really good post so thank you for sharing.

    I’d just like to add a contribution to this marvellous piece of information by adding that if you plan to keep your pets in the garden at times it can be helpful to get secure fence panels because it will of course help in stopping them from running off.. And I think many of us have experienced that at one time or another! Thanks again Jordann – Karl.