This summer, so far, looks much different than others any of us at the Frederick County Division of Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center can remember. However, it’s still relatively early in the season. As popular travel destinations begin to reopen, it’s important that pet owners remember to plan ahead for any travel or situations when they may need to be apart from their pet— expected or unexpected.

Each year our shelter takes in almost 4,000 animals. Of those, about half arrive as strays. Animal Control Officers and shelter staff often identify the pets that have belonged to someone at some point by observing good manners, obedience and overall social skills of the cat, dog, or other animal exhibits. Since July 1, 2019, Animal Control has taken in over 1,250 stray animals. Of those, only 324 animals were reunited with their family. The odds of being reunited lessen without visible identification or a registered microchip.

Toast is an example of one of the many pets that have not been reclaimed by their owner. She arrived at the shelter with no identification, was previously spayed and declawed on all four paws. The shelter does not encourage declawing but she obviously was someone’s indoor cat. Toast is friendly, easy to handle and loves to be pet. Here are some tips to help you be prepared should your pet get away from you when you are traveling.

• Know where the local Animal Control facility is. That will facilitate things, and reduce stress, should your pet get lost while on travel. Additionally, be familiar with local veterinarians should you pet require medical care.

• ID, please. Make sure your pet has an id tag and/or microchip and that the information is current. Companion animals develop a sense of security through a consistent routine and familiar environment. Traveling can cause them to react unpredictably. That includes escaping. Consider having your pet microchipped at your veterinarian’s office or call us for information on our low-cost Microchip clinics.

• Temporary boarding. This is an option pet owners may overlook or think is too expensive. However, boarding a pet in an accredited facility keeps them safe and allows you peace of mind while you are enjoying the sites of your destination of choice.

• Spay/neuter/vaccinate. In the event you choose to board your pet, many boarding facilities require that your animal be current on vaccinations. Current vaccines will help keep them protected; spaying and neutering will prevent undesirable behavior — your pet is less likely to run away if they are altered.

Planning ahead can keep your family together, including the members with fur, fins and feathers. For more information, contact the Frederick County Animal Control Division at 301-600-1546.

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