Tips for safeguarding your pet

Take these precautions immediately after adding pets to your household: could save you from the heartbreak of losing them:

  • Keep a collar and tags with your current phone number and/or address on your pet. Consider putting a cell phone number on the tag in case someone should call you while you are out. If your phone number or address changes, make the changes on your pet’s tags as well.
  • Obtain a current annual dog license for your dog. If kept current, this can be used to trace a lost pet back to its owner.
  • Keep dogs on a leash and under your control at all times.
  • If possible, keep cats indoors. Cats that wander unrestricted outdoors could become prey to wild animals.
  • Provide contact information to pet sitters whenever you travel.
  • Microchip your pets. You must register your pet’s microchip for a shelter to link the pet back to you. (The Fairfax County animal shelter generally scans all dogs, cats and large birds for microchips and has returned pets to their owners quickly because of microchips.)
  • Ensure that vaccinations are ALWAYS kept up to date, especially rabies. If your pet runs away or bites someone, you will need to show proof of a current rabies vaccination. Keep vaccination records handy so can produce them for an animal control officer if needed.
  • SPAY or NEUTER your pet to help reduce the desire to wander and to ensure your animal won’t contribute to unwanted litters and pet over-population.

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