Warm weather brings lots of outdoor adventures, open windows, and extra time in the yard for your dog (and even for curious cats). These enjoyable activities can be risky if your dog runs off into the woods or your cat escapes through a torn screen or open door. It’s important to protect your pet from these risks, and one easy way to do that is by making sure they have the proper identification on them at all times.
In celebration of National Pet ID week, here are the best ways to ID your dog or cat:
Does your pet wear a collar with ID tags at all times? If so, what condition are the tags in? Are they worn down and illegible, or is the information outdated? Check your pet’s tags today to see if they need to be replaced, and make sure that they wear them at all times. Personalized ID tags can help ensure that your lost animal is returned to you as quickly as possible.
If you are getting new ID tags, make sure to put your pet’s name, your phone number and the city where you live on them. An address is optional, as there may not be enough room on the tag. If your pet is microchipped, consider adding a second tag listing the microchip company’s name and phone number.Also, consider having your pet wear his or her proof of rabies vaccination, especially if it is required by law in your area. As a bonus, the number on the rabies tag is also another way to identify your pet.
What if your dog loses his collar while away from you, or your cat gets out while not wearing their tags? In situations like this, a microchip can save the day. Microchips are smaller than a grain of rice, and are typically (painlessly) implanted under the animal’s skin around their shoulders. Vet’s offices and animal shelters can implant the chips, and have scanners that can read the information that they contain.
Microchips are inexpensive, and most shelter pets come with one already implanted. If your pet does not have a microchip, ask about getting one at your next vet visit. If your pet does have a microchip, make sure that you keep the the manufacturer’s information in a safe place. You will need to contact them to update the information on the chip if you move or get a new phone number.
Remember that just because your dog or cat is microchipped, it doesn’t mean that you can skip the ID tag. The safest plan is to have both: Only vets and shelters can scan for chips - if your pet is found by a neighbor or another hiker, ID tags are still the quickest and easiest way to reach you and get reunited.