Lost Pets: Identifying Them with Microchip Tags and Pet Identification Collars
One-third of all dogs and cats in the United States are reported missing in their lifetimes. More than 80% are never found. Between 9,450,000 and 9,632,000 pets that wind up in shelters in the US are euthanized. – ASPCA
Pet owners will tell you that the best parts about coming home after a long day are the loving greetings waiting for us. Dogs get excited, usually demonstrated through happy barks, and their tails thump, thump, thumping. Cats will coolly saunter up and rub against our legs, which is simply their way of telling us to “pick up the can-opener already.”
Now imagine coming home to silence. Your pet has slipped free of their collar and escaped from your home or yard. How would you find them? Would they be able to find you? It’s a horrible, helpless feeling unless you’re well prepared.
Despite our best efforts, some pets have a knack for escaping the house or yard and getting lost. That’s why it’s essential to have your pets microchipped! A microchip tag can mean the difference between a lost dog or cat ending up in a shelter (and potentially being euthanized) and finding their way home. It’s essential for pet owners to ensure information remains current. The problem is that people tend to forget about the microchip tag, which is only as current as the information contained in the National Pet Register. While there are many different microchip tag manufacturers and registry sites, the one we’ve linked to is the most comprehensive and is used by veterinary professionals across the country when scanning lost or injured pets. National Pet ID Week (April 17-23, 2021) is an excellent reminder for pet parents to review their pet’s identification methods, from collar tags to microchips, and make any necessary updates.
“What should I put on my pet ID tag?” is a frequently asked question. Including the pet’s name, a current phone number, city and address, and a microchip tag number are ideal, plus any medical needs. Of course, space is at a premium, so customize to include the most vital information first. Since pet ID tags are cheap and easy to get, you can use the front and back of the tag if needed.
Best Pet Identification Methods
According to recent statistics, cats with microchips were 20 times more likely to be returned to their homes than lost cats without microchips. For dogs with microchips, the return rate is 2.5 times higher than those without. But those are just the beginning!
- Microchip Tag: The best method for animal identification is the permanent microchip tag. Microchipping is a quick and painless procedure for animals that can make the difference between a happy ending and heartbreak should they get lost or injured. Most veterinary practices and shelters routinely scan for microchip tags in stray or injured animals. If you haven’t talked to your veterinarian about microchipping, do it today.
- Pet Identification Collars: All pets (indoor or outdoor) should have a collar and tags with their name, along with your current address and phone number. Vaccination and license tags can also help identify lost or stolen animals.
- QR Code Tags: Most of us are familiar with QR codes, which allow us to scan the code with our smartphone to visit a website, get information or buy products. Pet tags are a great option for the technology! Adding a QR code tag to your pet’s collar is another layer of protection for your pet in case they get lost or injured. Anyone with a smartphone can scan the tag or visit your pet’s profile online to view your contact details and pet’s critical information, skipping a trip to a local vet to have the pet scanned for a microchip tag.
- GPS Collars: These are an excellent option for pets that spend time outdoors or that tend to roam (cats, we’re looking at you). With a GPS collar, you can locate your pet at any time of day or night. For a great list of the best GPS collar options, check out this article from PC Mag.
- Collar Tags: Pet owners can get personalized pet collar tags at local pet stores or order a wide variety of styles online. Make sure your pet’s tags are correct and have the most up-to-date information on them and that the information is easily readable and hasn’t been scratched or worn away. Did you move recently? Check to be sure all tags and information have been updated to include your new address and contact information.
Finally, if your pet doesn’t have a microchip tag, give your veterinarian a call or have it done at your pet’s next wellness appointment. All of AZPetVet’s locations can perform microchipping. Click here to find the location nearest you.