The third week of April has been designated National Pet ID Week. It is a time to increase awareness of the need to properly identify pets. We encourage pet owners to use one or more of the following pet identification methods to ensure the safe return of their pets should they become lost:
Collars and identification (ID) tags
Collars and tags are a reliable way to identify your pet should he become lost. Make sure your dog or cat always wears a current identification tag. Pet supply catalogs and stores, veterinary offices, and animal shelters often have forms to order ID tags. The tag should include:
Owner’s name and address
Telephone numbers (day and evening)
Any medical problem requiring medication (may require separate tag)
Veterinarian’s name and number, if possible
Reward offer should pet become lost
Steps to take to ensure identification tags are functional:
A collar worn for purposes of identification should remain on the dog or cat as long as he is in a situation where he could become lost. Ferrets should wear identification if they are taken outside for any reason.
Do not use a chain choke collar as the identification collar. A broad buckle collar is best. The collar bearing the identification should be fastened snugly enough that it does not slip off over the animal’s head when it is grasped by a person. Safety collars or harnesses are often used on cats; harnesses should also be used for ferrets.
Common tags worn on the collar include:
Individualized identification tag
Dog or cat license
Check your pet’s tags regularly. They can become lost, or unreadable with wear.
In addition to identification tags, you can use an indelible pen to write a phone number on the collar itself. You may also be able to order broad buckle nylon collars with your phone number stitched into the collar.
Put a temporary tag on your pet when you move residences that includes a relative’s or friend’s telephone number. Many animals are lost when owners move. Use masking tape over the current tag or consider purchasing an instant tag, available at most pet supply stores.
Microchip identification system
Microchipping involves implanting a tiny capsule under the pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. Microchips can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, and other companion pets. The tiny chip is about the size of a grain of rice. The owner then sends the information to a registering agency along with current contact and alternate contact information in the event the pet becomes lost. When a pet is found, any agency with an appropriate scanner, including many animal care and control agencies, veterinary clinics, and research labs, can quickly identify a code that links the animal to its owner through a national database.
NOTE: There is no universal scanner that can detect all brands of microchips. Before having your pet micro-chipped, contact both the chip manufacturer and your local shelter(s) to make certain that compatible scanners are present in your community.