Pet Identification Is Important

Did you know that the third week in April is National Pet Identification Week?  This week is used to increase the awareness of how important it is to properly identify your pets.  According to statistics, only about 2% of cats and 15% of dogs that are lost are reunited with their owners.  There are several different pet identification methods that can be used to make sure that if your pet is lost your chances of finding him will increase.  These identification methods are listed below:

Collars And Identification Tags

Collars and tags are an easy way for somebody to contact you if they find your pet.  You should make sure your pet is always wearing a collar and identification tags.  You can get identification tags at several places such as pet supply catalogs and pet stores, veterinary offices and sometimes animal shelters have forms to order identification tags.  You should make sure your pet’s tag includes the following information:

  • Your pet’s name.
  • Your name and address.
  • Both your home telephone number and your cell number.
  • Your veterinarian’s name and number if possible – this might be included on the tag your vet gives you when you get your dog vaccinated.  If so, make sure your pet has that tag attached to his collar also.
  • Reward offer if your pet is lost.
  • If your pet has any type of medical condition that requires medication.

If there is not enough room for all of the above information on one tag… don’t worry, you can always get two tags to put all the information on.  Also, most of the time you can put information on both sides of the tag.

Make Sure Your Pet’s Identification Tags Are Functional:

  • Your dog or cat’s collar should remain on them at all times.  You never know when the unfortunate might happen.  For example, sneaking out the door when it is opened, digging out of the yard, climbing the fence, etc.  Or it could be like one of my dogs that literally pulled the fence planks off the fence and sometimes just ate through the fence to get out.  She was unbelievable!  We were always lucky that we found her when she got out 🙂  It is better to be safe than to be sorry!
  • A collar that has a broad buckle is the best type of collar for your pet.  Do not use a chain choke collar as the identification collar.  Make sure the collar that has the identification tags on it fits snugly enough that it can not slip over your pet’s head when a person grabs it.
  • Tags that should be fastened to the collar are rabies tags, dog or cat license and individualized identification tag.
  • Make sure your pet’s tags are up to date, that they are readable and that they are still attached to your pet’s collar.  They can become lost or unreadable due to wear.
  • Not only can you make sure your pet has an identification tag you can order nylon collars with your phone number stitched into the collar.  What a great idea!  If you don’t like that option, you can always write your phone number on the collar yourself.
  • If you are moving, put a temporary tag on your pet.  This tag should include a relative’s phone number or a friend’s phone number.  You should remove the current tag or purchase an instant tag which is available at most pet stores.

If you lose or find a pet you can contact several national tag registries.  They include:

Another option that I have found that works well is posting on Craig’s List and/or using Social Media to get the word out about your lost pet or about a pet you have found.  You would be surprised how many people are willing to help locate your lost pet!

Microchip Identification System

Microchipping a pet consists of injecting a tiny capsule, about the size of a grain of rice, under the pet’s skin between the shoulder blades.  It is a lot like giving your pet a routine shot.  It only takes a few seconds, and your pet will not feel it anymore than they would feel a routine vaccination.  No anesthetic is required.  They can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, and other companion pets.  For the microchip to work, the owner has to send the information to a registering agency along with current contact and alternate contact information in case the pet is lost.  Any agency with a scanner can identify a code that links the animal to its owner through a national database when a pet is found.  Many animal care and control agencies, veterinary clinics and research labs have these scanners to scan microchips.  It is important that pet owners know that there is no universal scanner that can detect all the brands of microchips.  It is good idea to make sure that when you microchip your pet there are compatible scanners present in your community.

Common microchip manufacturers and registries are:

  • AVID Microchips.  To reach by phone:  (714) 371-7505; nationwide (800) 336-AVID or (800) 434-2843.
  • Destron Fearing.  Customer Service can be reached at (800) 328-0118.  Their database is maintained by the American Kennel Club (AKC): (800) 252-7894.  Their LifeChip has Bio-Thermo Technology that allows monitoring of individual pet body temperatures and BioBond Technology that secures the microchip to the injection site.
  • Identichip in Scottsdale, AZ.  Contact phone number is (800) 926-1313.  They use AVID and Destron chips.  Their National and International Registries provide programs for breeders, shelters, and vets.
  • InfoPet Recovery.   Contact phone number is (952) 890-2080 ext. 100 or (800) 463-6738.  They register Trovan, HomeAgain, AVID, ISO compatible and all other brands of microchips and are endorsed by the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
  • Home Again.  Contact phone number is (888) HomeAgain or  (888) 466-3242. Their microchip registry is in conjunction with the AKC (for both purebred and mixed breed dogs): (800) 252-7894 or  Has Bio-Bond patented anti-migration feature to help ensure that the microchip will stay in place so that it may be easily located and scanned.

Tattooing Your Pet

Tattooing is a permanent identification system that consists of marking a code on the skin of your pet.  A tattoo can be placed in several places on a pet such as in the pet’s ear, on the abdomen, or inside of the pet’s thigh.  When the pet is found, a phone call can be made to a national database that uses the code to obtain the owner’s current address and phone number.  The coding system is unique to each registry.  If your pet is stolen for research, laboratories will instantly know the animal is not abandoned but instead that it is a beloved pet because of the tattoo.

There are several national organizations that register tattoos and they usually also register microchips.  They are:

It is important to keep an up-to-date file with a written description of your pet that includes his size, marking, weight, and unusual features.  Keep a current photo on file to use for posters, to post on Craig’s List and Facebook, and to take to the animal shelter if your pet becomes lost.


Filed under: All About Dogs

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