As some of you may remember reading of seeing on Luna’s Instagram, Luna went missing for 16 hours when she ran away from a dog sitter who was looking after her. She bolted through an open front door and spent the next 16 hours running and skulking round the park we usually talk her for walks on.
This post is not about the anguish and despair we felt for those 16 long hours, no, this is about things we learned from the whole experience! So without further ado, here is my our list of things we wish we knew beforehand and will certainly not forget…
This is probably the biggest point for us. It’s not something we’d have ever thought of before and I imagine many dog owners are the same. We weren’t really aware of their existence, and those of you that are aware of them probably think “it’ll never happen to us”. We never thought it’d happen, but it did and if we’d had one of these devices it would have saved us a lot of time, heartache and worry.
The one we got was made by a company called Tractive; we read a lot of reviews online that seemed to say this was a good one for the price and features you get. Seems to be the best all-round one basically. Some out there have more features or longer battery life, or great accuracy, but you will end up paying a lot more. The premise is simple – they work based on GPS so you can log into the handy app on your smartphone and then you can see where the device is. To save battery power it doesn’t run in real-time as standard, but should you require this function, you can press a little button and have the device ping back its location every second. The live tracking mode is also a lot more accurate, usually to a couple of metres when we used it. In non-real-time mode it’s a little less accurate, but that’s not really an issue for us. Overall I was very happy with the device and its price too.
Some people don’t like the size of the device and think it’s big, but this is actually one of the smaller units on the market, and when clipped to Luna’s collar she doesn’t notice it. There are other things you can do so it’s not on the collar – for example, initially, we were going to sew a little pocket onto Luna’s harnesses to hold the tracker, but then we saw that Tractive themselves have a few accessories available too. The one that caught my eye was the reflective jacket with a little pocket for the tracker on the back. It’s really good, it fits her well, moves the tracker off of the collar, and it also acts as a little rainproof jacket. Winner!
Tag on collar or Harness
This one sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it, but when push came to shove, we didn’t actually have a tag on her solar when she went AWOL. I believe that there may actually be some legislation that dictates that pets in the UK need to have a collar tag with owner contact information on them. Either way, we have separate tags for each of her collars and her harness now, as well as spares should either of the tags get lost somewhere. It never hurts to be over prepared for your pets safety!
This is one that we’d been looking at for a long time, unsure whether we would get it. It can add a decent wedge on money onto your monthly bills if you get full coverage, and we often thought that we’d never need it. Thankfully after ‘the escapade’ we were not caught short and nothing happened that required treatment, but if something HAD happened…what if she’d broken a leg or been hit by a a car? A bystander initially told us that they thought a car had indeed, hit Luna. Any vet/medical bills could have very quickly spiralled into the hundred or thousands. If you’re in that position where you cannot afford vet bills, then your only option might be to euthanize your pet and who wants to ever have to be forced to make that decision because they cannot afford to save their pets life? Depending on what pet you have, this can be a massively important thing. If you have a house cat that never goes outside, let’s be honest – insurance is not necessary for you really. Sure, it would cover illnesses as well as injuries, but the most common requirement of cover would come from injuries. If you have a young whippet with a healthy dose of wanderlust (Oh, hey there!) then perhaps it’s a wise idea to get insurance. There are plenty of comparison sites around that will help you find the best deal for your circumstances.
So there we have it – three simple things that we recommend all pet owners to think about. Three simple things that may seem obvious in retrospect, but might not be to newer or less experienced pet owners. Hopefully this might help a few people out!