I have received a couple of emails from Dogster over the past few weeks reminding me that this week (April 18-24) is National Pet ID Week. Well since this is something that is near and dear to my heart, I thought I would just pass along some of the tips they have suggested and a few of my own.
Dogs get lost every day. In fact, statistics show ONE IN THREE pets will get lost at some point in their life. I have noticed the number of “lost pet alerts” from Home Again has increased dramatically in the past two weeks or so. The weather is warming up here in Ohio and more people are out with their dogs and are leaving them unattended in their yards – dogs get out and roam free. I have read statistics as high as 90% of pets with out current identification never return to their families. 90% are you kidding me!
There are several things you can do to increase the odds of reuniting with your lost pet.
Always have your pet wear a collar with a sturdy ID tag displaying your current information.
Not only are collars fashionable, they your first line of defense (btw – this is how I justify my collar addiction). People are much more open to helping out a roaming dog that has a collar and tags. It is a homing beacon to the Good Samaritan that this stray is loved and someone wants it back (ie: if they get involved they have the expectation they will not get stuck taking the dog to the pound/shelter, or having to keep it). Most Pet Shops, Walmart and engraving shops have machines on hand to make an inexpensive metal tag on the spot in less than 5 minutes. That 5 minutes could be the difference between your dog being euthanized or sleeping on the foot of your bed tonight.
I suggest putting your cell number on the tag as a primary number. Since you will most likely be out looking for your lost pet, you won’t have your home phone in your back pocket or purse, it will be your cell phone. I have my dog’s name, my cell number and home number listed, in that order on my tags.
Many online shops have gorgeous designer tags that give your dog a little bling and added p’nosh. My dogs wear large 1.5″ Red Dingo Tags – stylish, sturdy and guaranteed for life. My favorite collar maker Sew Crazy Dog Lady carries them at the lowest prices I have found anywhere…..
- $9.50 for small (3/4″ round)
- $10.00 for medium (1″ round)
- $10.25 for large (1.5″ round)
Have your Pet MICROCHIPPED.
There are several companies that provide microchipping various services and programs. Most shelters, veterinarians and rescue groups have or have access to a microchip reading wand. In the event your dog is brought in, they will be able to look for a chip and contact the company to get your personal information to call you. You will be provided with a tag listing the microchip number for your pet to wear alerting who ever finds the dog that it is microchipped. Periodically check to make sure your information is up to date, including alternate contact numbers (you can log into your account online to view your information). Some microchipping companies provide an insurance policy for your pet covering injury and illness arraising while it is lost.
The most widely used microchip companies in the US are AVID and HomeAgain. These companies are both widely recognized. Most veterinarians carry one or the other, but not both. The local animal shelters are generally able to scan for both chips, if they scan an animal with an AVID scanner and a HomeAgain chip has been inserted in the animal, the scanner will alert the handler that a chip is present.
So regardless as to which microchip you choose (exception ISO chips) to use your pet can be found with a scanner, and when a veterinarian decides to carry microchips the microchip company will give a scanner to the veterinarian and the local shelter.
ISO frequency chips (134.2 kHz frequency) are used through out Europe and are NOT compatible with most US scanners. Currently Banfield located in Petsmart stores use the European chips… make sure you ask what chip you are having inserted and make sure it is an Avid, or HomeAgain chip (125 kHz microchips) To read more.. here
My dogs are microchipped through HOME AGAIN – There is an initial fee for signing up for the service and for an additional $14.99 per year, I opted for the “premium service”. If my pets go missing Home Again will send out a LOST PET ALERT to all veterinarians, shelters, rescues and (opted in) Good Samaritans alerting them that your pet is on the lamb. They are also covered for upto $3000.00 in medical charges resulting of injuries or illness while they are missing. Dog vs. Car incidents usually dont end in the dog being the victor… its a great value for $14.99/year. Hopefully you will never have to use it, but its comforting knowing it is there in the event you need it.
Mirochips are available for insertion at most veterinary clinics, shot clinics and at a reduced cost through some rescue groups at fund raising activities. All of my dogs were chipped at rescue events for a reduced fee. Make sure you know who is going to register the chip… I was not aware I had to have my chip registered myself and Zeus and Apollo were not in the system for over a year…… So double check with the provider and make sure you have a good understanding before you leave.
Some municipalities require dogs and cats to be mircochipped and registered with the auditor.
Have a current photo of your pet
Having a current photo is very important for creating a lost pet flyer. It is also important to note that you should be able to have access to this photo at all times. Many pets go missing while their owner is on vacation. Being able to access a photo online (flickr, photobucket, snapfish and dogster are examples of free photo hosting sites) while away from home will provide invaluable when trying to locate your lost pet.
Keep you dog license current
Most states require that you register dogs (and in very few cases cats as well) with the auditors office through a dog licence. Some are as local as a city and others (like where I live) are through the county. Ohio requires all dogs over 3 months of age to have a current rabies vaccination and yearly dog licence on file. My county has a searchable database with all dog tag numbers to reunite dog with their owners. Remember a few months back I found the wandering beagle? The dog was wearing only it county license. I contacted the dog warden and was given the phone number to call the owner. With in 10 minutes the dog was reunited with the dog sitter. Not only will having your dog licence keep you from getting a ticket, but it may just save the life of your pet.