If your pet became lost, you would want to do everything you can to make sure they come home, right? Having pet identification that is readable and current for your furry family member is the best way you can increase the odds that you and your precious pet will be reunited if they become lost. It’ National Pet ID Week so let’s talk about this valuable piece of protection.
ID is Essential
Accidents can happen. Families get busy. Workmen come to your home, you are in the process of moving, kids dart in an out of the door and it could remain ajar. Pets can easily escape from your home or yard. If the they have identification on a collar there is a greater chance they will make it home.
Each year in the united states approximately 9 million lost pets end up in animal shelters. Sadly, only about 15% of dogs and 2% of cats without identification (tags or microchips) are returned to their family. Those are horrible odds. My four-legged kids are family and I don’t want to risk it.
What’s in a Name
You can purchase personalized pet ID tags on websites or pet stores. Etsy has especially creative tags and ID collars.
Your phone number is the most critical piece of information to have on that ID tag. A dog or cat found with just that one piece of information will most likely be quickly returned.
Including your pet’s name can help a pet found feel more at ease when they can call them by their first name. Some owners choose to not include their pet’s name precisely because they don’t want the animal to be too comfortable with strangers, particularly if they are concerned their pet might be a target for abduction.
Consider for your pet ID:
- Pets name
- Your phone number
- A secondary phone number
- Home address
- City & State
- Veterinarians phone number
Lost and Adopted
When I was in nursing school, my parents and sister came to visit me. While driving to my house, they came upon a dog walking down the middle of a (very busy) street. They pulled over, opened the door called to him and he jumped in. Obviously not scared of cars or humans he had to belong to someone. He looked to be a pure bred Vizsla, not a popular breed, so we felt the chances were good we’d find his family. As he had no collar, we took him to a nearby vet clinic to have him scanned for a microchip. No microchip.
My parents contacted a Vizsla rescue and also reached out to local humane societies to see if this very nice and handsome young boy had a family looking for him. After a few weeks of living with my parents and no family came forward, they decided to adopt him.
Buddy was a statistic that did get a happy ending. It doesn’t always end up that way for lost pets.
Collars can come off. Safety collars are also called “break away” are particularly good for cats. This allows for a pet who may be stuck, by the collar, to pull hard enough to free themselves but leaving the collar behind. Microchips are an essential piece to the identification puzzle.
Every dog and cat regardless if they are “indoor-only” should wear a collar and a tag with important information to get your furry family member back home to you.
Cats often do not wear collars and may not have any other form of ID. A recent study showed that less than 2% of cats without microchips were returned home. However, if a cat is microchipped, the return-to-owner rate is 20 times higher than if the cat was not microchipped.1
Collars and Tags and Chips Oh My!
Microchips are the gold standard but should never replace the first line identification of a collar and tag. Dangle, flat, and even embroidered into the collar are easy options to find.
Microchips are part of the overall well-being of pets and keeping families together that the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) set aside “Check the Chip Day” every August. Come back in August and I’ll give you some key facts about microchipping.
The American Humane Association (AHA) kicks off April with “Every Day is Tag Day” as an annual event to help remind pet parents the of the importance of tagging and microchipping dogs and cats.
Top ID Tips
- Have your cat or dog wear an appropriate flat collar with tags
- Tags should include your pet’s name and home address or phone number (I always put our veterinarians number on the back)
- Microchip your pet – keep the registration up-to-date.
- Always talk with your veterinarian on their recommendations and options for microchipping.
Loosing your family pet is a nightmare that you and your family don’t want to experience. Make sure you do your part and ensure your pet had external and permanent identification, giving them the best chance to get back to you.
Happy Pet Parenting,