IDs and Microchips for Your Pets
Run Those Dogs cares deeply about the safety of animals. That’s why we’re increasing awareness about one of the easiest, and most important ways to keep your pet safe: pet identification with IDs and microchips.
The third week of April is National Pet ID Week. Its an entire week for good reason. Several good reasons actually:
- One in three (~33%) of pets become lost at least once in their lifetime,
- Less than 2% of cats and 20% of dogs that get lost are reunited with their owners, and
- About 80% of pet parents believe ID tags are important, but only 33% of those pets actually wear tags at all times.
Most pets who are reunited with their owners do so because of ID tags, microchips, or tattoos. Its up to you to figure out which one(s) are right for you and your pet.
Collars and ID tags immediately identify your pet as a lost pet and not a stray, which can help your pet get home faster. These days, ID tags are easy to obtain, are low in cost, and available in many stylish options.
- Shop online for the greatest variety and to find the best deals.
- You veterinarian will usually offer at least one option in their office.
- Your local Humane Society, like our local NOAH Center, will often provide discount coupons to pet owners, or include them for free when you adopt with them.
- Chain pet supply stores sometimes have engraving machines that can make new tags before your eyes in just minutes.
Some parents only put collars on when they are leaving the house. Unfortunately, dogs and cats can get out by accident. If these pets aren’t identifiable in a different, more permanent way, it becomes very hard for them to find their way back home again.
But what about the potential dangers associated with collars that hold ID tags? Its true, pets wearing collars have been caught or hung up on fences, kennels, or branches with potentially dangerous or fatal consequences.
But since 1996, collars have been on the market specifically designed to release on their own, sometimes called a breakaway collar, if a pet is in danger. This type of collar may not be the cheapest collar you can by, but its well worth the extra couple of dollars to know your pet is safe. Don’t let this concern keep you from IDing your pet. If you just can’t agree to a collar, then perhaps microchips are right for you.
What once sounded like science fiction has become mainstream. Their use has become routine and cheaper for pet owners. Chips can be obtained at your veterinarian’s office or at your local shelter. Some host a special microchip event, offering discounts without the added cost of a veterinary appointment.
The procedure isn’t particularly painful because the skin of cats and dogs is tough and evolved to endure pokes and scratches without lasting pain. Still, many veterinarians are offering to insert the microchips while pets undergo spay or neuter surgery or dental treatment.
If you adopt a pet from a shelter or a rescue and they come already chipped, be sure to check the chip annually. Occasionally a pet was skipped and never received a chip or the chip can move under the skin or stop working. It’s also a good idea to check that the information encoded on the chip is correct and up to date each time your address or phone number changes. Having them checked regularly can help ensure your pet finds their way home.
Tattoos for Registration & Recovery
This practice has been around for some time, going back to use in tracking possession of farm animals or highly valuable purebred animals. But there is controversy associated with the topic.
Tattoos on pets are commonly placed on the belly or on the inside of their ear. They can fade over time, but can be retraced. Some animals experience discomfort or complications afterward. Some states including New York have banned tattooing of animals because some pet owners have opted for tattoos simply for aesthetic purposes with dangerous or fatal consequences. If microchipping just isn’t an option for you, consult your veterinarian for their professional opinion.
ID tags and microchips are two of the easiest, most affordable ways to ensure you’ll be reunited with your pet if they become lost. Its especially important if you travel with your pet. Run Those Dogs owner Jen Sewell uses both ID tags and microchips to ensure her dogs Gus and Kai get home safe if they are ever separated. Make pet safety a priority in your parenting plan and consider IDs and microchips today.