Since this is National Pet Identification Week, it’s a great time to make sure your own pet has proper identification in the event he or she becomes lost. According to a study by the National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and approximately 15-20% of dogs entering an animal shelter are ever reunited with their owner. The majority of pets that are reunited with their owner have some form of identification. Proper identification is a simple step you can take to ensure the safety of your beloved dog or cat. There are a number of pet identification choices:
Collar and ID tag: Most pet owners are familiar with this basic form of identification which consists of a tag attached to your pet’s collar. To be effective, it is important to make sure that the information on your pet’s ID tag is always up-to-date. An identification tag is inexpensive and readily available, and is a quick and easy way for your pet to be identified and returned to you. However, the downside is that your dog or cat may lose their collar and ID tag.
Microchip: A microchip is a permanent method of identification wherein a small chip, about the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under your pet’s skin. If your dog or cat becomes lost, the shelter will scan your pet for a microchip. There is a unique number associated with the microchip which can be looked up in a microchip database which will have your contact information. Just as with an ID tag, it is important that you keep your contact information updated with the microchip registry. When your pet visits the veterinarian, ask your vet to scan your pet to make sure the microchip is still working properly.
Tattoo: Another method of identification is a number that is tattooed on your pet’s skin, usually either on the inner ear or inner thigh. The benefit of a tattoo is that it is permanent and, unlike a microchip, the identification is readily visible so no scanner is required. This might not be a viable solution if your pet has dark skin which may make a tattoo difficult to read, and it is possible for a tattoo to fade or blur over time. As with the microchip, you must keep the tattoo registry updated with your contact information which is associated with the tattoo number.
Whichever method you choose, ensuring that your pet has some form of identification will greatly improve the chances that your furry friend will be returned to you should he or she become lost.