It’s not enough to post an “If found, please call” flyer around town anymore. Shelters, humane societies, and even local sheriffs often pick up the pets off the street before you even get the chance to create a flyer. If your pet is lost and isn’t wearing a tag, locals will assume the cat or dog is a stray. Pets that aren’t so lucky to be rescued often roam the streets for days, looking for home and risk the chance of a fatal roadside incident. That’s why it’s so important to give your pet an identity with a tag or ID chip to make sure they are always safe.
According to a study published in Preventative Veterinary Medicine, 67% of pet owners never, or rarely, put tags on their pets. Without a form of identification the chance of your pet ever returning home is slim to none. It would be like you traveling without your license or birth certificate. If you don’t carry a formal document stating who you are, you remain unknown…a nobody, which is exactly what happens to our pets when they leave home. So, it should come to no surprise to you that the #1 must have in pet safety is a collar and tag, or some other form of ID.
The awesome part is, a tag doesn’t even have to be expensive! It doesn’t have to be engraved on stainless steel material and attached to a fancy rhinestone collar. No. Even just buying a cheap collar and writing your contact information on it with a sharpie is a step in the right direction. Something as easy as that could save your pet’s life and bring your furry friend home. It’s that easy!
We know what you’re thinking… if you have an inside-only pet, or if you always keep a keen eye on your pet, then what’s the point? Even if your pet is an inside animal, or if they just roam outside in your fenced-in yard, it’s always a possibility they could wander off. According to Found Animals, one out of every three pets will wander off and get lost at some point over their lifetime. Lack of proper identification skyrockets the percentage of lost dogs never returning home by 90%.
Still not convinced? ASPCA completed a telephone survey back in 2010 with slightly over 1,000 pet owners across the country. Here’s what they found:
- In the past 5 years, 15% of pet owners had lost a cat or dog.
- Sadly, only 85% of lost cats and dogs were recovered.
- 93% of the lost dogs were found.
- Cats are less likely to be recovered than dogs, with only 74% of lost cats found and returned.
How they were recovered/found:
- Searching through their neighborhood was the most effective with a whopping 49%.
- Due to fault on the owner, only 15% were found because of an ID tag or a micro-chip.
That 15% could have been greatly increased had the owner provided the right identification on their dog, and fewer people would have wandered their neighborhood.
So now that you know just how crucial it is to give your pooch or feline an identity, you’re going to want to know what your options are. Well, there are two main types of ID’s: tags and microchips. Both forms of ID have proven to work effectively benefiting you, and your pet.
An ID tag is normally attached to your pet’s neck on a collar. Some pet parents choose a tag made of stainless steel or a plastic material engraved with their contact info. Whereas, others simply write out their details on the collar, which is a cheaper and relatively effective method of identification. Overtime, however, writing can wear out or off the pet’s tag so you will be required to re-write the details regularly.
An ID tag should contain three important things:
- Your pet’s name
- Your phone number
- The city where you live.
If you’re comfortable providing your address, then that’s an option as well, but there may not be enough room on the tag. Providing your phone number is essentially the most important because no matter where you are, whoever found your pet can get ahold of you right away.
Another option is microchipping your furry friend. A microchip is roughly the size of a grain of rice. The chip is inserted under your pet’s skin, usually between their shoulder blades. These tiny microchips contain a unique number assigned to your pet and registered to your name, identifying the pet as your own. Since the chip is underneath the skin, it requires a special scanner to view the serial code. Kind of like how a clerk price checks an item at the super market, the microchip provides information on your pet when a shelter staff member or vet passes the specialized wand over the pet. This number not only identifies your pet, but it will bring up your contact information, so who ever finds your pet can return your cat or dog back to you. Reports show that pets that are microchipped are twice as likely to make their way home compared to their non-chipped counterparts.
Although there are differences between the two, like tags being displayed on the outside rather than the inside like microchips, they both have their pros and cons.
ID Tag pros:
- Tags are a quick and easy ID for those who find your pet.
- Cheap, effective way for people to contact you if your pet wanders off.
- You can personalize it in your own unique way. Bonus!
- No adverse reactions from microchip needle.
- Microchips can’t be lost outside of pet, which is a permanent solution to ID.
ID Tag Cons:
- Tags can fall off.
- The engraving on the tag can ware off over time making it difficult to read.
- Collars can easily break or be pulled off by the dog/cat.
- Collars can easily be caught on fences and other objects around the home, or yard.
- Microchips can be lost underneath the skin.
- With there being several microchip companies, it’s impossible for a scanner to read every brand of microchip.
- Without proper registration, the chip is pretty much useless.
Overall, it’s important to tag your dog and cat to make sure they have the proper identification in the unfortunate event that they wander off. The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) suggests using both forms of ID for extra safety and we agree. Better safe than sorry! Don’t risk the heartbreaking experience of losing your best friend and four-legged, furry companion. Tag your pets!