Tune in as Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder, talks with Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub, about what to do if you lose a pet or find someone else’s lost pet. PetHub, a digital pet ID tag company, founded Lost Pet Prevention Month.
This video is part of the Pet Voices LIVE series. CLICK HERE to see the full schedule of videos.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 0:02
Have you ever lost a pet and were worried sick about that pet? Or found someone’s lost pet and just weren’t sure exactly what to do? That is what we’re talking about today on Pet Voices LIVE. I’m your host, Chloe DiVita. And I’m familiar with it because I lost a pet when I was, I must have been 11 or 12. And it was my cat. It was the first cat that was mine. This was my cat. And he was an indoor/outdoor cat, which is probably something I wouldn’t do anymore now. But back then, that’s what he was. He loved being outside. One day he didn’t come home. I freaked out, but I didn’t really know what to do.
So, we did the tell all our neighbors thing, shared our phone number with everybody, and we called some of the local shelters to make sure that he hadn’t been brought in there. But for days, he didn’t come home. And finally, on day three, my mom and I just walked around the neighborhood calling his name. It turned out he was stuck up in a tree. I don’t even remember how we got him down. But I will tell you those few days were really hard. And so, when I see lost pets, I just immediately go back to that place and think, “Ugh.”
We are more prepared now than probably a lot of people realize. Because there are programs in place and there are products that you can use to help prepare yourself in case that happens. And to help you know what to do if you happen to find a lost pet because I know that happens to me. In my neighborhood, I’m the pet lover that everybody brings the lost pets to because they think I’ll know what to do. They’re not wrong.
I’m happy today that we are talking with PetHub, Lorien Clemens, specifically the COO of PetHub. Because they’re a company that started Lost Pet Prevention Month, that was back in 2014. Which I just think is fabulous.
So, we’re going to get into what that is, why it’s great, and we have Lorien in here who joined PetHub back in 2011. It was a tiny little startup. And since her joining,the lost pet recovery software service has become a respected industry leader. And for herself, she was named Pet Industry Network’s 2014 Pet Industry Women of the Year. And she was honored by Pet Age Magazine as one of the Pet Industries Women of Influence in 2016. So, she has all the accolades behind her, she’s super smart, and look at her holding her little cat there.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 2:19
This is Houdini.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 2:23
Hello, Houdini. Don’t disappear on us though. We kind of enjoy the furry company.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 2:27
She’s an escape artist, which is good for today’s topic.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 2:33
It is good. My cat that I had at the time, I called him Bullet, because I just felt like he went from one place to no place. And I couldn’t keep up with it.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 2:42
Well, thank you so much for having me on the show today. I’m excited to talk. This is probably my favorite subject to just talk about. So, let’s get into it.
THREE PET IDENTIFICATION METHODS
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 2:50
Okay, so let’s start with just Lost Pet Prevention Month. It started back in 2014. What was the impetus in it? I have an idea. But let’s just get down to the basics of why?
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 3:00
PetHub had been around at that point for about four years. We started in 2010. We had brand new technology that we were trying to introduce. And so, it was a new thing, a new way of thinking about pet identification. And so, when we would go and talk to people, everybody kept saying, “Oh, I don’t need a tag like that because I’ve got a microchip.” And everybody was just all about microchips. And the entire conversation about lost pet prevention was about microchips. And let’s be honest, microchips were invented in 1985. And the statistics, in that 20 some odd years since then, they haven’t gotten that much better. Have they improved? Yes. But not as much as it would if it was a true panacea and it solved all the problems. So, clearly, microchips couldn’t be the only solution. And yet, that was the only conversation happening at the time.
So, we decided we need to do something around having a deeper conversation about all of the aspects of keeping our pets safe and at home. And if they do get lost, how to quickly get them home. And so, we started Lost Pet Prevention Month.
There she goes.
We started Lost Pet Prevention Month to widen and deepen that conversation and to provide education for folks.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 4:17
I love that. I love that she just disappeared.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 4:22
I know, she’s awesome. Okay, so sorry about that.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 4:24
That’s all right. So expanding that conversation, which I love because I don’t think it’s not saying microchipping isn’t important. Because there’s huge benefits, not saying you shouldn’t do that. But it’s not the only thing. And it’s not the only way. And I know for me, any lost pet that I found, I don’t have a microchip reader. And so, if there’s another way I always look for that first.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 4:47
Yeah. And so, here’s the thing. Well, let me backup just a minute. We look at pet identification. The first cornerstone of lost pet prevention is pet identification. Pet identification is kind of like a stool or a chair. You would never sit on a chair that only had one leg. You wouldn’t even sit on the chair that had two legs. You would make sure that a stable sitting unit has at least three legs. So, we ask the pet parents to think of pet identification with at least three legs. Microchip is the first one. Every pet needs to have a microchip because it is the ultimate safety net. But you are relying on people knowing that there might be a microchip. You’re relying on them taking them into a vet or a shelter to get scanned. You’re relying on that vet or that shelter to have a universal scanner because even though most places do now have a universal scanner, microchips have multiple frequencies. And not all microchip readers can read all microchips. And you’re relying on that you have kept all that information up to date, because according to the microchip industry only 58% of microchips are up to date. Which means 42% don’t have good data or no data on them. So, microchips have to be there as an ultimate safety net, but they’re just one leg.
The next leg is, like you said, Chloe, it’s that external, fast identification. It’s an external ID tag attached to a pet’s collar. Your pet should never be naked, should never be without a collar that has an external ID. Now, we of course, recommend a digital ID tag. And we can go into the reasons why we think it should be a digital ID tag. But even an ID that has your main primarily phone number on it is critical.
Then the third part that people don’t often think about, in fact according to which statistics you look at between 10 and 15% of people license their pet. Why is that important? Why is that a critical third leg? Well, it’s the only legal verification you have that that is definitely your pet. So, if they end up at the shelter or heaven forbid, there is a stolen situation or a misunderstanding about who has ownership of that pet. That pet license is your proof that the pet belongs to you.
So, we recommend at least those three legs are always with the pet.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 7:08
That is such a good point because I think some people feel like the pet license is a tax. Or a way for the city to know what’s going on in your house. I don’t know, people get very-
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 7:22
Yeah. I get it. People get kind of skeevy about it or whatever. There are a lot of benefits to having a pet license. And how many benefits there are really does depend on the community. But generally speaking, it’s proof that your pet is owned by you. It’s proof that your pet is vaccinated, which is critical when they’re in the shelter. That the shelter understands that this pet has their rabies vaccination, doesn’t have to go into quarantine, etc.
Also, in a lot of places, it’s your first get out of jail free card. In a lot of places, they will allow a pet to get into the shelter one time if they are lost. If they have a license, you can pick them up for free. Now, if you have a frequent flyer, who’s always going into the shelter and always getting lost, they’re going to start charging you. But for a lot of communities, and a lot of communities even have a free ride home. If an animal control officer finds that pet with a license, a lot of the communities that we work with that have licensing, they’ll actually physically drive your pet to your house and take them back home to you. That’s a huge service that comes with a tag that generally costs between 10 and 40 dollars, depending on where you live.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 8:35
Right. Maybe there’s a little mindset shift on that probably has to happen.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 8:40
That should be a mindset shift because I do understand not wanting the government up in my grill or whatever, and I get that. But I look at it from a public health standpoint, which is primarily how licensing started. It was that vet vaccination verification and that this pet has a legal owner and it’s not just a stray. So, it’s a public safety and a public health thing.
But also, license revenue is often the main funder of municipal shelters. And municipal shelters take in the bulk of animals that are out in the streets and the stray animals. And if they don’t have that funding, they can’t take adequate care of their pets. If they don’t have funding, they can’t house many pets. And we all know what that means. It reduces the amount of living pets that get back out. Let’s face it, although euthanasia rates have gone down significantly in the last 10 years, they’re still not where we want them to be. And pets are euthanized because there is no room in the shelter and there is no money to care for them. That’s an unfortunate truth in our world.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 9:42
Yeah, the sad truth.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 9:44
It is very sad. But licensing your pet actually helps fund that. And some people are like, “Well, why should I fund other people’s pets getting lost or whatever?” It’s kind of like saying, “Well, we’re all helping to fund the roads that we’re on. We’re all helping to fund the schools.” Even if I don’t have a kid. I want to be surrounded by people who are educated. It’s part of that whole general fund that we are all trying to help support the community, so we have a healthy safe community.
EXTERNAL ID TAG
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 10:07
Okay, so we’ve mentioned at least these minimum three: microchipping, pet identification – outwardly facing kind of identification, and registering your pet or getting your license with your city.
What else are other legs on the chair that can help stabilize it?
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 10:22
Well, I’ll talk a little bit about that one leg, which is the external ID tag. And how you really should go a step beyond that traditional stamp metal ID tag. Traditional ID tags have one, maybe two pieces of information on them. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t pick up my cell phone every day, all the time. I’m at work. I’m in meetings. Back before the pandemic, I was traveling. And I didn’t always have access to the number that would have been on my pets’ ID.
So, a digital ID tag, whether it be a PetHub ID tag or one of the other ones that’s out on the market, linked to an online profile. So, our profile on PetHub is a free profile. You can have unlimited emergency contacts on there. And all of their vaccinations can be listed on there, not just rabies. Medication, behavior issues, you name it anything that might help that pet in a time of crisis.
Imagine if your pet ends up in a shelter. If the shelter has five different phone numbers to call. They know the three medications that your pet is on. They know all of their vaccinations are up to date. And they know that they don’t do well with small dogs. Already, you put your pet in a more safe situation of being away from you for that short time while they’re working to get you home. That’s what a digital ID tag can do for you and a regular stamp tag can’t.
Now, beyond that, other places that identification can be critical. A lot of people, and I highly recommend this, have their phone number also sewn into the collar. In case the ID tag falls off, but the collar stays intact, you’ve got at least one phone number on the collar. That’s a great place.
Another thing I’d recommend about collars is that it be a bright, memorable collar. Because that way on a Lost Pet poster, you’re able to say missing Maltipoo with a Seahawks green collar. People will recognize, “Oh, I saw a little white dog with those Seahawks collar on.” If it’s just a black collar or a red collar it’s not as memorable.
Another thing that is super important, when you are traveling and you have your pet, of course, in a crate. Because that’s a safe way to travel or at the very least in a harness that’s latched in. Having an extra piece of identification on the crate or on the harness where they are will also help them. A lot of pets, you’d be shocked how many pets go missing after car accidents or during travel situations. So, having the extra piece of identification on them is great.
You can also, depending on who your dog is and different things, there is tattooing, there’s ear tagging, there’s a couple of other things. I wouldn’t recommend all of them. It depends on the situation. For some dogs, show dogs for example, that can’t wear collars in different situations, tattooing is that external ID that works for them.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 12:57
Greyhounds have that. I have a Greyhound. She didn’t race. So, she’s probably the only Greyhound you’ll find that doesn’t have that. People are surprised like, “Where’s your tattoo?”
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 13:07
But former race dogs definitely have it. And there are some dogs too that for whatever reason they can’t wear a collar. And you could consider doing tattooing. Tattooing has some pretty big cons, not the least of which is the pain it puts the pet through, plus the fact you’ve got to get it renewed every couple of years to keep it crisp and readable. But at the end of the day, it could be that important piece of information that gets them home.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 13:26
Interesting. I feel like that’s a whole other topic.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 13:27
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 13:28
So, we’ve talked about different ways and dove into that pet identification piece. Which it sounds like there’s a huge benefit to having this digital aspect, which the world is going digital. So, I think looking at my daughter, who’s Gen Z. She’s going to assume there’s a way on her phone through some apps you can do something. That it feels like the time has come.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 13:54
It is the paradigm shift that is happening. Think about it, young people, I wish I could include myself there, but I’m just a wannabe. Younger people are expecting that the tools that are in their lives are digitally driven, are driven by technology. And so, they are looking for technology driven tools for their pets too. So, a digital ID tag gives you that. And it gives you the flexibility and the mobility that we like as a society. And if you think about it, I like to go on vacation, I take my dog with me. With the digital ID tag, I can put the address of the hotel, or the RV park, or wherever it is I’m staying right there on the tag. I don’t have to worry about, “Oh, I have to get an updated tag. So, it’s all updated.” I can do it all right there at my fingertips on my smartphone.
FOUND A LOST PET?
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 14:36
It’s quick. That’s a quick thing. It’s quick and easy. I love that.
So, that’s several great tips for helping protect your pet in the instance that it may get lost, or runaway, or whatever that situation may be.
Now, let’s flip the table for a minute and say you’re somebody who finds a lost pet. What are your recommendations for the first things we do when we find somebody else’s lost pet?
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 15:04
Well, I would recommend that everybody, especially those of us that are pet lovers, it’s probably everybody listening to this, that you put a lost pet kit in your car. My husband and I both have one in our cars. We have a leash. And the kind of leash that we have is the kind you can just loop it and the leash itself becomes the collar as it were. We have a leash. We have some nice crinkly treats that pretty much every dog and most cats would like. They are salmon, we call them kitty crack. But both dogs and cats love them. We have a little water bottle. Have that found pet kit in your car ready to go that’s real quick to grab, because a lot of these pets are out there without a collar and certainly without a leash, most of the time. So, have that in your car.
If you see a pet that’s wandering, we want to make sure that you’re pulling far enough away off the road so you’re not scaring them with your car. And know that most pets, be them cats or dogs, are going to be very timid, very scared. They’re in a strange situation. Now, there are some super social dogs that are like, “Woohoo, a person. I’m going to come to meet you.” That’s the rarity actually.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 16:11
That’s my Greyhound.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 16:12
One of the things that we recommend is, do not approach the dog. Get the dog’s attention. Cats, by the way, are much harder to catch, so let’s focus on dogs because they’re usually the ones that we can get to come with us.
If you have two people it’s best because you can kind of go on both sides and then try to keep them out of the road. But lay down on the ground. If you have a squeaky toy. I also have a squeaky toy in my found pet kit. If you have a squeaky toy to get their attention. You can crackle that bag of treats, get the bag out, open it up, so they can smell it. They will smell it. But lay down on the ground. Don’t ever face them head on. Most dogs, if you start making squeaky noises and things like that while you’re laying down on the ground, they’ll come check you out. You’re not as scary to them if you’re laying down the ground. You’re in a vulnerable position. And they’re like, “Oh, human on the ground. This is weird. I need to check this out.”
So, once you are able to secure them, as quickly as possible, get a leash on them because they’re going to be scared. They’re going to be likely trying to bolt. And you want to be able to get that leash on them. If you can, attach that leash to something that’s not going to move, like your car.
Then you’re looking for an external ID. You want to get that pet home as quickly as possible. You want to avoid the shelter if you can. And for a lot of reasons, we don’t even get into all those ways. But you want to avoid the shelter if you can. For anything, it’s just super stressful for the pet.
You want to look for external IDs. If you find an external ID that has a digital ID or whatever usually is going to have a call center. That’s what PetHub’s has. Or it has a QR code. We also have one that you can scan. There’s a lot of different interfaces, you’re going to have to figure that out.
If you have a slip leash on them and you need to be able to take off their collar you can do that. That also helps. That’s also, a good reason to have a slip leash to go over as their collar. You’re going to start to try to get ahold of that person that belongs to the dog, their people.
The other thing I’d recommend is if you are able to put them in your own car, putting them in your own car will make them less likely to bolt. You are running the risk, of course, having your own car damaged in some way. I’ve had some interesting accidents in the backseat. But at the end of the day for me personally, I’m like, “Whatever, a little bit of pee, I can clean up.” It’s not a big deal. And I almost always have a towel in the back seat anyway. So, it’s okay. But you’re running that risk. But it does create a safer situation for that lost pet.
Then you’re trying to find those contacts. If there is no external ID then the very next place that you should stop, first and foremost, is the local shelter, if they are open. It is a better option than veterinarians. Why? Do you know why?
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 18:45
Because they have more microchip readers.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 18:46
Yeah, they’re much more likely to have ample microchip readers. But also, universal microchip readers. The other thing is that I’ve watched a lot of microchip scans being done. And sometimes they are really precursory. And they are up and down the back, “Oh, there isn’t a microchip there.” Microchips can migrate. They can also be embedded a little bit deeper than normal. And sometimes it takes a really thorough scan. You’re going to most likely get a really thorough scan at the shelter.
The other thing is the shelter was probably notified that there was a missing pet, if the pet has been missing long enough. So, they very possibly will have that pet already in their system as a pet that is missing. So, a veterinarian may not have that at their place. So, they may be able to facilitate getting that pet home quicker even if they don’t have a microchip if you do take them to the shelter.
I do understand that a lot of people are hesitant to take them to the shelter. They want to keep at home for whatever reason, if there’s a high euthanasia rate or whatever, depending on the type of dog. I understand that. But truly, for the most part, the safest place is to take them to the shelter. If you take them home, you put it out on Facebook, and everything like that. Pets do get home that way. But it is not as fast, and it is not as safe.
SHELTERS – THE BEST PLACE FOR A LOST PET
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 19:59
If I find a lost dog, and I’m looking, and I’m calling numbers, and nothing’s up to date, so I take the dog to my local shelter, and they read the chip, and they figure out who it is. Is there an option for me as the person who found it to say, “Can I just keep this dog with me until the owner picks it up?” Or does the shelter then-
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 20:21
It depends on the shelter. And what their laws are. Which I do, I get it. I get why people are hesitant to take it in. There are some places that will allow you to foster the dog for a little while. There are some places that won’t. And I would say it’s on you to also kind of know to the best of your ability what the local laws are. But at the end of the day, every shelter that we’ve ever worked with, when we talk about that at the end of the day, it is generally speaking, safest to take the animal in.
And the only times I would say that maybe that’s not the situation is when they’re in a disaster situation where every pet is being brought in. And they may just be like, “Can you just keep them with you for right now? Let’s just take a picture. Send it to us. We’ll do our best.” We’ve worked in places like Texas and Florida after huge natural disasters, like hurricanes, and it gets a little crazy. And so, in those situations, a lot of times they do ask people to house them as much as they can. But for the most part, take them into the shelter. Generally speaking, it’s the safest place.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 21:23
All right. So, I definitely think there are some mindsets related to pets and lost pets that need to shift. Even in hearing you talk, I can feel my mind being like, “Yeah, but.”
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 21:39
Because the thing is too, Chloe, people are going to the shelter to try to find their dogs. And the biggest fear that a lot of us have is that somebody’s going to find my dog and take them home and fall in love with them. Even if you put it out there. We’ve seen this just here locally, somebody will go home, they’ll take the dog home, they’ll be keeping him in their backyard. They will put something out on the local lost pet page. And literally, even if the person who had that pet has also put a missing thing on to the local pet page because they look a little bit different. Maybe they were gone for a week, they got dirty or whatever, it will take a week or more of looking at different posts going, “Oh my god, that is my dog.” And you’ve been going to the shelter every single day.
And so, you are not being fair to that pet parent, if you’re keeping them in the house, when they are diligently out there looking and the place that they know to look is the shelter.
Now, there’s a lot. By the way, on LostPetPrevention.com, which will link you to PetHub.com’s database of all of our prevention and recovery things. There are a lot of different tools for finding lost pets, both from a finder’s perspective. But also, from the pet parent’s perspective that has lost their pets. Like all the different types of things you can do. Like intersection alerts, how to tag your car properly when you’re out looking for the pet, how to set up a grid to go look for the pet, that kind of thing. How to lure them back in, most pets are a mile or less away from their home when they are found. Even sometimes weeks later, they are really close to their home.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 23:19
All right. Well, thank you for all of that wonderful information. You mentioned LostPetPrevention.com. Where else can people go? PetHub, I know is in all of the places.
Lorien Clemens, COO of PetHub – 23:32
Yeah. If you’re looking for a digital ID tag, you can always go to PetHub.com to get a digital ID tag. We’re also in over 500 communities across the United States as the license and/or rabies tag for the community. But LostPetPrevention.com is actually a PetHub powered site. And we’ve got a ton of content there from both our experts, in house experts, but also experts from across the world actually talking about all the different parts of lost pet prevention and recovery. Those are the two places I would start. And a lot of those will link you out to other resources that are really great.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 24:06
Okay, wonderful. Thank you, Lorien.
If you’re like me and you’re thinking about the things you can do not only to protect your pet, but to help other people who might lose their pet. I do believe there are some mindset shifts that need to happen. Not only that a shelter is a great place to take said lost pet should you find one. But also, that digital aspect of tracking your pet and having the ID tag that is outwardly facing so that anybody who finds them can either use a QR code or go to a site and put in information and have the most up to date information. I think that’s something. I’m a Gen Xer, so it’s not far for me to lead to that. And yet, I don’t always take the actions so that is reality. And I think it is something that becomes much easier these days. And our younger millennial and Gen Z friends are going to be on top of that.
So, if you are one of those and you’re watching, this is the place to go. Go check out LostPetPrevention.com and PetHub because they are really making waves. And as I mentioned in the beginning, they’re an industry leader in this. And that means their software and their programming is always going to be on the leading and the cutting edge of what is happening. So, check them out.
For more information on lost pet prevention and PetHub:
Lost Pet Prevention Website – lostpetprevention.com
PetHub Website – www.pethub.com
Facebook – PetHub
Instagram – @pethub
Twitter – @PetHub