Keeping Your Pet Safe at Home

Author: Animal Services

Discovering that your animal has gotten loose and gone missing can be a frightening and traumatic experience. There are things you can do to keep your animal(s) securely confined.

Responsible pet owners should take the following steps to keep their animals from getting out or that they can be quickly returned home if they do happen to get out.

  • Walk the Line - Good fences make good neighbors... and good pet owners too. Take time to regularly walk your fence line and check for areas where pets may be able to dig under or climb over. If you have an "invisible fence", periodically check to ensure that the circuit is complete and change the batteries in your pet's collar frequently. Animal Services does not recommend the use of tethers as a primary means of confinement since they do not keep other animals away from your pet and their use has been associated with increased rates of aggressive behavior. However, if you do decide to tether your dog, please remember that the use of "single point" tethers is illegal in the state of California and you must use a "two point" or "trolley" style tether.
  • Spay and Neuter - Having an unaltered animal which escapes may mean you'll wind up with a litter of unwanted puppies or kittens. By spaying or neutering your pet, you can eliminate this possibility and also help reduce pet overpopulation which leads to shelter crowding and the unnecessary euthanasia of homeless dogs and cats. Just as importantly, spaying or neutering your pet decreases their desire to escape and roam.
  • Give Them a Reason to Stay Home - Animals confined in a sparse area are much more motivated to escape. If your pet is going to spend any significant amount of time outside, ensure that they have adequate shelter, a comfortable area to rest, and toys or other items to keep them occupied. Giving them regular walks, adequate exercise, and social interaction will also help keep them content to stay where they are. If you're going to be gone for a long time, make arrangements for someone to come by and check on your pet and spend a little time giving him some attention.
  • Think ahead - Even animals which wouldn't normally try to escape can become frightened by fireworks, loud noises, and other unusual events. If you know that these may be occurring, it is best to keep your pet confined securely indoors when you can't be with him.
  • Identification - In the event your animal does get out despite your best efforts, having identification on him with your current contact information is the key to getting him home quickly. 
    • At a minimum, your animal should have a collar with an ID tag on it. Tags should have your name, address, phone number, and the phone number of a friend or family member in case you can't be reached. Check your pet's tags from time to time to ensure that they are still securely attached, that they are legible, and that all the information is still current.
    • Since tags can come off the collar or can become worn down with time, it may be helpful to write or embroider your phone number on your pet's collar.
    • One of the most dependable means of identification is a microchip. Microchips are a small capsule about the size of a grain of rice. A chip implanted under the skin of an animal's shoulder region can be scanned, yielding a unique identification number which is linked to a database in which your name, address and phone number can be stored. Some microchip companies will also help you put out lost pet alerts, pay to have animals transported back home, or provide other benefits for pet owners. Most veterinarians and animal shelters can implant a chip for you at a minimal cost; depending on the chip manufacturer and the program you choose, there may be a small registration fee as well.