The third week in April is National Pet ID Week! Having proper identification on your dog is an important component in them returning home safely if they were to ever go on what I like to call an “Unauthorized Walk About.”
The statistics of lost pets are pretty significant. While there are no real studies into how many pets are lost, we often hear that 1 in 3 pets will become lost at some point. That is a huge number! Accidents happen and I would bet that all pet owners have a story where their pet got loose or they had a near miss – even us professionals. No one is above making a mistake!
Over half of cats are lost without identification of any kind, while that number drops to 11% of lost dogs. These statistics, when compared with the rate of pets returned home, really illustrates why it is important that our pets have proper identification!
There are many kinds of ID tags or ID forms you can use for your pets, but a functional, up-to-date microchip is your best, most permanent chance to have your pet returned to you.
Types of Pet Identification
“Jingle” ID Tags: These are great, easily accessible, and economical tags. They attach to your pet’s collar with a split ring or other clip. These tags can often be picked up at your local pet shop if they have an engraving machine, but you can also special order them with fun designs. The downside is that these tags are more likely to get caught and can pose a choking hazard, so we recommend not leaving these tags on your pets unsupervised.
“Jingle-Free” ID Tags: You can can “jingle-free” tags in a variety of styles. They can slide onto your pet’s collar, be riveted on, or sewn on. These are all great options for when you want your dog to be able to wear their identification but you do not want something hanging off the collar. These are a little more expensive and are a special-order item, but they can be worth the extra effort to pick up. There are several types of these tags, but here is a company I’ve used before.
Written- or Sewed-On Information: Some information is better than no information! If you are in a pinch or need something very economical, bring out a trusty permanent marker and clearly write your phone number right on your pet’s collar. This can also be helpful for dogs that are skittish, as you don’t have to get up-close and personal in their space in order to read the information! If you like the idea of large-format information but you want it to look a little fancier, you can also have your phone number embroidered on their collar! Here is a company I’ve used for embroidered collars before.
Microchip ID: A microchip is a identification tag that is about the size of a grain of rice. It is implanted in a dog under their skin in the area around their shoulder blades. It is not a GPS and it does not give off any kind of signal. Instead, it contains a unique identification number that can be read by a special kind of hand-held reading device. You can learn more about microchips here.
It is not enough to simply have your pet microchipped – you must also register that ID number with your name and phone number, address, and other pertinent information. It is important to verify that your information is accurate in the database, and that the chip is still working (this can be done by your vet in their office).
We highly recommend including multiple phone numbers or contact information on your pet’s ID and microchip. We are never available 100% of the time, and so we might not be available when we are needed most. It is better to have someone contacted in case you cannot be reached than it is for your pet to be held by Animal Control or a stranger.
If you are a client of ours, or of another pet care provider, ask for an additional ID tag that lists your care provider as a back up contact if your pet is found but you cannot be reached. As a Lucky Pup Family, we would rather have the opportunity to step in and help if needed rather than see your pet held in a detention space or at the Humane Society!