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The Importance of Properly ID’ing Your Dog

One of our biggest fears as dog owners is our beloved pets getting lost. How many times have you had close calls? Fluffy slipped out of his collar on a walk, the gardeners left the gate open – so many different things can happen unexpectedly. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 pets will become lost in their lifetime. Remember, because they are accidents, never really prepare for them. So the best thing we can do is to be prepared for that time our dog does get away. How do we do that? We provide dog ID tags and microchips!

shutterstock_142623949The most common and basic form of identification for our pets is a simple collar and ID tag. The tag should have your pet’s name and at least one phone number of someone that can be reached in the event of an emergency. Having your address is helpful, but since you may be away a phone number is essential. If you have a blind, deaf, or very shy or aggressive dog that may make him difficult to catch, it’s always helpful to have that noted on his collar or ID tag as well. Becoming lost is scary for any dog, but if they have a disability, it might be even more frightening. The idea is to help get your pup back to safety while keeping the Good Samaritans safe as well.

Recently, more and more pet owners are turning to microchips as a form of identification. Since it’s sometimes not practical for dogs to be wearing collars and tags (there are some dangers with dogs that may accidently get caught on crates or kennels and choked), microchips are the perfect solution. Since they’re implanted in the skin of the dogs, they are there always. There’s no need to worry about whether or not your dog has his collar on if he ever escapes. Microchips can be implanted when our dogs are puppies, and it really is almost painless. Just a quick injection and your dog is good to go for life. Most microchip companies even offer international numbers so you can easily cross borders. This makes traveling with your pet a lot safer. As long as you send off your payment and updated information to the microchip company, all your dog needs to do is be scanned for the ID number to show up. This will give the shelter, veterinarian, or Good Samaritan an idea of what company to contact. This company will in turn contact you and you’ll be quickly reunited with your poor pup! Just remember that if you ever move or change your phone number, you’ll need to update that information with the microchip company.

So remember, having some sort of identification on our dogs is essential. The chances of our pets getting lost even once is fairly high, and we need to make sure we are doing everything we can in order for them to be returned to us. With overcrowded shelters, it’s not likely that your pet is re-adopted. And even if he is, he’s still your dog! It’s estimated that 40-60% of animals that arrive at a shelter are strays, which means that almost half of them are lost pets. Unfortunately, in most communities, only 10-30% of dogs are claimed by their owners. That’s a lot of lost dogs that are never finding their way back home because they weren’t wearing any sort of identification. Keep in mind also that roughly 50% of the dogs that were reunited with their families were done so because of microchips. It’s really recommended to use both ID tags and microchips. You can never be too prepared, and you just never know when that day might come that your beloved pet goes missing.



About the Author

Katie is a professional dog trainer located in Southern California, with a background of experience as a veterinary assistant as well. She has trained and competed with multiple breeds in AKC Obedience and Rally, agility, herding, Schutzhund/IPO, French Ring and conformation. She has been involved in dogs since she was a child, and specializes in protection dogs, working dogs, and aggression issues. You can visit her website, Katie’s Dog Training, to find out more information about her training and accomplishments. When she’s not helping others and writing, she’s out on the field with her Belgian Malinois and Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

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Written by Katie Finlay
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