October marks the beginning of National Animal Safety and Prevention Month. As a pet owner, protecting our pets from harm and illness are at the top of our priorities. This month, we reflect upon some tried and true tips and technologies to make sure our pet is healthy, happy and safe.

Microchipping Your Pet

Each year, up to 8 million pets end up at an animal shelter. Finding a lost pet can be near impossible through traditional methods like posting flyers around town. Microchipping has revolutionized this problem and reunited pets and their families with technology as small as a grain of rice. Microchips are about twelve millimeters in size, and are placed just beneath your pet’s skin, typically between the shoulder blades. Each microchip has a unique number that when scanned, can provide the contact information of that pet’s owner. Unlike a collar with tags that can snag or fall off, a microchip provides permanent ID that can’t be removed or fall out.

Keep Them Healthy

You can ensure a long, healthy life for your pet simply by taking a few preventative measures. Schedule a visit to the veterinarian at least once a year for a physical exam and vaccinations. Be sure to give your pet some form of exercise at least once a day to keep their weight down and their physical health at their peak. Provide a balanced diet for your pet to avoid weight related health issues – limit treats and avoid giving table scraps.

Pet-Proof Your Home

When a curious pet is on the prowl, it is essential to eliminate potential dangers throughout the home. If you have a green thumb, be sure to do your research before bringing plants inside the house that could be potentially toxic to your pet if ingested. Keep all medications and cleaners in locked cabinets or stored on high shelves. Check for dangling or loose wires behind electronics to ensure your pet cannot get caught or tangled up. Keep the doors and lids closed. This means washers, dryers, toilet seat lids, and covers to all food containers tightly sealed and stowed away.

Be Mindful When Traveling

If you’re going on a long road trip, it is recommended to make a pit stop every two to three hours so your pet can do their business and get some exercise. Many rest stops now offer convenient pet friendly areas away from the traffic and busy parking lots. Just as wearing a seatbelt is imperative for a human, crating your pet ensures their safety in the event of a crash. Bringing along a familiar crate will provide a source of comfort and shelter if staying in an unfamiliar location like a hotel or friend’s home. It can be difficult when travelling, but doing your best to create a routine for your pet while on the road will keep them healthier and happier for the remainder of the trip.