The Great Escape: How to Prevent a Pet from Escaping

Joyful English bulldog riding a skateboard on the streetNo matter how much you love them or how wonderful a pet parent you are, some pets will try and get loose on occasion. It may be their natural curiosity that gets the better of them or they might catch a glimpse of the cat next door.

However, when a pet is chronically trying to escape, this can be a real threat to his or her safety. To prevent a pet from escaping, understanding the behavior and implementing precautionary measures are essential.

Why do Pets Try to Escape?

If your pet is running loose, consider his or her lifestyle. For cats allowed to spend most of their time outdoors, it may not be “escaping” as much as it is a habit of always being on the move. For indoor cats and dogs, however, there are some general causes that should be addressed.

  1. They are not spayed/neutered. When your dog or cat reaches sexual maturity, he or she will instinctively seek a mate and will be persistent in this task. Not only does this add to the problem of pet overpopulation, it also puts your pet at risk of being hit by a car or having other accidents. The simple and responsible solution is to have your pet spayed or neutered.  
  2. They have an underlying fear or phobia. Fear or phobia is quite common in pets, and noise phobias are one of the worst offenders for causing a pet to scramble. Be wary if loud noises affect your fur friend. Anything from thunderstorms to fireworks can trigger an escape. If your pet struggles with anxiety or fear, please contact the team at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates for a consultation and treatment evaluation.
  3. They suffer from separation anxiety. This form of anxiety typically stems from a lack of socialization or social isolation (the pet relies solely on one person for interaction and security). Separation anxiety yields behaviors such as chronic barking/yowling, destruction of property, scratching at doors and windows, and attempts to escape. If being away from you is the cause, we recommend behavioral training and socialization.
  4. They are bored. Mental and physical enrichment is crucial for all animals – perhaps even more so for high energy breeds who need to run, perform tasks (herd, hunt, etc.), or have generally higher intelligence. Boredom can easily be addressed by increasing social opportunities, adding challenging games and toys, and maintaining daily exercise. If you struggle to find the time, enlist the help of a dog walker or pet sitter.

In some cases, pets try and escape simply because they enjoy it. When a pet gets a lot of attention from an attempted escape, they view the experience as something that garners a reward. In this case, you might consider looking into additional training for your pet.

How to Prevent a Pet from Escaping

No matter the cause, an escape can be scary. That’s why it’s important to have your pet microchipped and to keep ID tags current. To prevent a pet from escaping, make sure all doors, gates, and windows are secure. For dogs who like to leap the fence or dig, install pet-proof fencing.

We also suggest scheduling an appointment with us so we can make sure your pet isn’t in pain, suffering from a health condition, or dealing with a chronic phobia.