Pet Identification… Protect your pet!

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Pet Identification… Protect your pet!

Pet Identification… Protect your pet!

It’s every pet parent’s worst nightmare. Your landscaper leaves your back gate open. You get distracted bringing groceries inside. You answer the door when a friend comes over. And your beloved dog or cat slips out. There’s no feeling like watching your dog streak down the road after an escape, or looking endlessly for your precious cat only to find she isn’t in the house. The panic and dread experienced is unimaginable. Most people don’t consider this until it has happened. However, now is the time to ponder… what can you do to protect your pet in the unlikely event of an escape?

There aren’t many studies on the statistics of lost pets. The most recent one I could find is from an ASPCA study in 2012:

*15% participants reported losing a pet within the past 5 years

*93% of lost dogs and 75% of lost cats were eventually found

*Only 6% of dog owners and 2% of cat owners found their pets at shelters

*15% of dog owners were reunited due to pet identification including microchip or ID tags

The most significant statistic from this study, in my opinion, is the very low number of pets that are reunited with their owners through the shelter. This means that nearly all pets are brought home through legwork of their owners and the kindness of good Samaritans. How can you improve the odds in this stressful situation? Pet identification.

Pet ID tags: This is the fastest way to get your pet home. First, a collar and tag indicates this is an owned animal. Someone cared enough about this dog or cat to put a collar and tag on them. This usually generates interest in that pet and makes them more approachable to many people. Second, with an ID tag, your dog or cat has the fast track info to get them home-your phone number. Talk about easy access. I have picked up collared dogs running loose and have been so relieved to find an ID tag with an owner’s phone number. And talk about relieved…the owner was sick with worry and being able to quickly return that dog to them was so satisfying! Cats are a bit trickier because some won’t wear collars. Also, outdoor cats are at higher risk for snagging a collar and getting stuck on fences, etc. so be sure to always use breakaway collars for cats.

Microchip: While I feel collars and tags are the gold standard (particularly for dogs) for a speedy return, microchips are a permanent and critical second form of identification. Microchips don’t get lost (usually…they typically don’t fall out after initial implantation though they may infrequently migrate down a shoulder or neck making them trickier to find). Most shelters and veterinarians have a chip scanner which can direct them to you if they find your pet. I can’t tell you how happy we are at Dogwood when a Good Samaritan brings a “stray” dog in and we find a microchip and subsequently reunite them with their owner. Microchips are easy to implant, and very reasonable in cost (usually less than $75 including chip registration). Talk about inexpensive peace of mind! Also, in the unlikely event that your pet is stolen, microchips are the ticket to proving ownership.

While we all think it

can never happen to us, isn’t it better to be prepared rather than regretting

not taking a few simple actions to protect our pet family? Pet tags are readily available at local pet

supply stores as well as online. Also,

ask us about microchipping at your next visit.

It’s fast and easy and can mean the difference between snuggling with

your pet at night and losing sleep!