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Pets Are Getting Lost At Unusual Times On Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving spurs dreamy thoughts of pumpkin pie, traveling to see family, crisp autumn days and your dog begging graciously at the dinner table for some turkey scraps…wait…where’s the dog?

With all the holiday festivities in full swing, it’s easy to overlook your pet’s usual routine. With a turkey in the oven and your Aunt Nancy yapping your ear off, you might not be as aware of your dog’s whereabouts as you normally would be. Not to mention with nearly 47 million Americans traveling more than 50 miles for Thanksgiving, your pet might be in an unfamiliar home or home alone at unusual times.

On most Thursdays, Whistle loss events* tend to spike around mornings and evenings, when most people leave for work and return home. On a usual Thursday, a drop in pet loss events occurs between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., assuming most pets are secured at home or at daycare by this time. However, on Thanksgiving last year, the pattern diverged – the peak in pet loss events occurred during the usual ‘downtime’ from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Last Thanksgiving, nearly a third of escapes happened during this time frame.

Taking into consideration that American families eat Thanksgiving dinner much earlier than the average dinner – with most families sitting down to Thanksgiving "dinner" between 12 and 6 p.m. – it could be that while everyone is busy cooking in the kitchen, greeting guests, or leaving to have Thanksgiving at grandma’s, pets are finding ways to slip out undetected. It also seems that as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over and people either return home or sit down to relax with no more coming and going, pet loss events largely decreased. On a typical Thursday, we see a small spike in pet loss events around the evening. Nearly 25 percent of a typical Thursday's loss events happen between 4 and 8 p.m., but last Thanksgiving, only 14 percent of loss events happened during that time.

So what can you do to make sure you keep track of your pets during Thanksgiving?

If you’re hosting the festivities, make sure you keep entries and exits to one door, preferably close to the kitchen, so you can see if your pet slips out as guests are coming and going. Putting one of your family members on ‘pet duty’ is a good way to keep an eye on the household pets while everyone else scrambles to cook and setup. If you’re traveling for the holiday and leaving your pet at home, make sure he’s in a secure area and check all windows and locks that might have been opened while people were frantically getting ready to leave.

If you’re traveling with your pet, make sure you have his documents (i.e. shot records) with you and the proper supplies to keep him calm and comfortable (i.e. leash, toys, carrier etc.).

We always recommend that you have your pet microchipped, keep his tags updated, and make sure he has his Whistle charged and attached. Taking a few small precautions can ensure you enjoy the turkey and avoid your pet getting lost on Thanksgiving.

After Thanksgiving dinner is a perfect opportunity to take your dog for a walk to burn off some of those sweet potatoes!

Make sure to also check out our tips for avoiding pet emergencies that can ruin your holiday.


*A loss event is a sequence of events: (1) Whistle zone breach, (2) an owner tracking/locating a pet’s location via the Whistle App, and (3) the pet returning to Whistle zone.


Nov 21, 2016

Tags:   holiday   gps pet tracker   pet loss events   pet loss prevention  

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