Health Topics

Keeping Tabs on Runaway Pets

(This article was originally published in the Fall 2009 Issue of Dog Basics and is reproduced here with the permission of the publisher.)

A constant fear for many pet owners is the thought of their pup getting lost or running away. Unfortunately, many dogs do little to ease their owners' worries. Whether it's Fido digging an escape route out of the backyard or Princess running out the front door when you've got your hands full, it seems dogs are more magicians than animals. One minute they're there and the next - poof! - they're gone again. Here are a few tips on how to keep your best friend safe.

How many are lost?

It is estimated that tens of thousands of dogs go missing each year in Ontario. Fortunately, there are Canada-wide programs in place to aid in loss prevention, differing slightly with each municipality.


Licenses are an effective way to help your pet return home safely. A license is an identification number issued to you and your pet by your city or municipality. Along with your license, you will receive a tag that must remain on your dog at all times when there is potential for him to run away. Contact information is connected to the ID number so owners can be reached, should their dog be found. In many municipalities all dogs and cats must be licensed. A failure to do so could result in a fine.


A secondary form of loss prevention is a microchip. The chip, no larger than a grain of rice, is encoded with a unique number that, once implanted, will be registered to your contact information in the microchip company's database. It is inserted between your pet's shoulder blades by injection underneath the skin.