Your pet relies on you to keep him safe. Live up to his trust and ensure you’ve taken at least the following steps to protect your pet from injury, loss and theft.

1. Pet proof your home. “Curiosity killed the cat” didn’t come out of nowhere and might as well have a counterpart: “curiosity killed the canine.” Both cats and dogs will get into trouble exploring if allowed to. Get down to your pet’s level to check for potential hazards and be sure to examine all areas of your home and yard. The same techniques that are used to keep human babies and children safe will (mostly) work for your pet. Be aware of products or techniques that aren’t pet-safe, such as gates your pet can claw or chew through, and choose alternative options.

2. Collar and tags. Not only does a collar give you or someone else a gentle way to restrain your pet if needed, but the tags can be instrumental in getting your pet back home if he gets lost. Make sure that the collar is in good repair and doesn’t fit too tightly and keep the contact information on the tag current. Check the tag and collar regularly for wear and replace these items as needed.

3. Microchip. In addition to the collar and tags? In a word, yes. Collars and tags can get lost or become illegible. Microchips are permanently linked to your contact information. This rice-grain-sized peace of mind is inserted between your pet’s shoulder blades in much the same manner as your pet is inoculated. Be sure to register the microchip and check your contact information regularly to ensure it is up-to-date.

4. Spay or neuter. Sterilized pets are less likely to roam. Pets who don’t feel the need to answer the call of the wild stay closer to home and are less likely to get hit by a car, get into a fight with a wild or feral animal, be abused by someone who enjoys harming animals or become lost.

5. Vaccinate. It may not seem like something that keeps your pet safe, but keeping your pet’s vaccinations current helps prevent your pet getting sick. And if your pet does happen to get loose or lost, those same vaccinations will help protect him from the diseases he may encounter before he makes it back home.

6. Don’t share. Keep the human food for the humans. Most human food isn’t good for your pet anyway. If you just can’t say no to the pleading eyes of your pet, keep some pet-safe treats on hand. Providing good-quality pet food and treats is just one way you keep your pet safe daily.

7. Keep bugs at bay. Making sure your pet is protected from fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites keeps your furry friend’s health safe. Maintaining this protection year-round helps ensure these pests do not get an opportunity to make your pet’s life — or yours — miserable.

Besides all these items, you should know your pet well. Knowing what your pet likes and what is normal for your pet in terms of behavior can give you the information you’ll need when presented with a new situation or when you witness behavior from your dog that is out of character. Your pet could be signaling you that he is scared and needs your help to feel or even be safe. Remember, your pet looks to you for security and love. If you have any questions about the best ways to ensure your pet’s safety and make sure he feels loved and secure, please contact our office.