Eight per cent of British residents have had a cat or dog go missing in the past five years, which means that 3.93 million people have had to deal with the distress and worry of a missing pet, according to research from Sainsbury's Pet Insurance.
Many of these lost pets are never reunited with their owners, with approximately 61 per cent of owners who have lost a pet since the end of 2002 never seeing their pets again. Furthermore, 26 per cent of these owners believe that their pets were stolen.
Sainsbury's Bank is encouraging dog and cat owners to protect their beloved animals with a comprehensive pet insurance policy, because this could be useful in locating the pets – an exhaustive policy will provide a reward for the safe return of a missing pet, in addition to covering the costs of advertising.
Sainsbury's Bank has found that even of those owners who do have pet insurance, many whose pets go missing are not offered adequate support by their insurance provider. About 24 per cent of all pet insurance policies offer no or little support towards recovering lost dogs by offering a reward, and refuse to pay out for advertising costs, 21 per cent of pet insurance providers offer no or little assistance towards the cost of trying to find missing cats.
When their pet has gone missing, 71 per cent of pet owners have turned to their neighbours for help in recovering them, 44 per cent put up posters in their neighbourhood, and 13 per cent put an advert in their local newspaper. 40 per cent informed the RSPCA or local animal shelter and 12 per cent contacted the police.
Claire Moyles, manager of Pet Insurance at Sainsbury's Finance, said: "Missing pets is a big problem, the scale of which is often underestimated. It is a very distressing time for owners, compounded of course if they are never reunited with their cat or dog. Should your animal go missing our advice is to act as quickly as possible and notify the police, rescue centres and your vet immediately".
Sainsbury's Bank recommends some hints and tips in order to reduce the chance of becoming the unlucky owner of a lost pet, such as ensuring that cats and dogs wear a collar and identification tag, and are micro-chipped, that garden boundaries are kept secure to prevent dogs from straying and thieves from entering the property, supervising dogs and avoid leaving it tied up in public.
Learn more about Sainsbury's pet insurance and compare Pet Insurance
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