NEW YORK—Nearly one-in-five lost pets goes missing after being scared by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud noises according to recent survey findings. Because having the right information at your fingertips is key when the unthinkable happens, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) has developed its first-ever interactive smart phone app to help pet parents find their lost animals. Developed by the ASPCA and utilizing the latest field research, the free tool provides users with an individual search plan based on their pet’s behavior and individual circumstances so they can search quickly and effectively to recover their lost pet.
“Whether your pet goes missing as a result of fireworks or a bad storm, the best, most proven tactics to recover that pet may not be as obvious as you might think,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of shelter research & development for the ASPCA. “When lost, a shy dog may behave very differently from a bolder, friendlier dog. And a gregarious cat may be found in a completely different location than an independent cat. Searching for your missing pet the right way is vital, and could make the difference between reuniting with your beloved pet and never seeing them again.”
The app – available for download starting today – will provide pet owners with a personalized recovery kit, including step-by-step instructions on how to best search for and recover a lost animal in a variety of circumstances. Users will also be able to easily build a digital lost pet flyer that can be shared instantly on social media networks. In addition, the app provides news, tips and advice on ensuring a pet’s safety before, during and after a storm or natural disaster. It also allows owners to store their pet’s vital medical records ̶ shaving off precious minutes during an emergency.
You may think that it could never happen to you but in fact, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed who lost pets (64 percent) said they had never anticipated losing a pet the way they did. For the nearly one-in-five lost pets (19 percent) who went missing after being scared by the sound of fireworks or other loud outside noises, 70 percent of their owners were completely caught off guard that their pet was lost in that way.
Losing a pet is not only heartbreaking for a family, but also very dangerous for the animal, especially if the dog or cat ends up roaming busy streets. The best way to keep your pets safe is to make sure they don’t go missing in the first place: Double check leashes and collars and make sure your pet’s ID tag is up to date. Be mindful when opening outside doors. Keep your cats inside if you can. And give your pets access to safe, quiet places during those very colorful, loud fireworks. And if the unthinkable does happen, the ASPCA app is there to help.
In developing the app’s lost pets tool, the ASPCA consulted with Missing Pet Partnership, one of the nation’s foremost experts in reuniting lost pets with their guardians.