Why Should My Pet Have Identification?
Every year, thousands of pets become lost, and sadly, many never are reunited with their owners. That’s why it is so important for owners to protect their dogs and cats by ensuring they always have some form of pet identification.
What Are My Options for Identifying My Pet?
Collar & Tag
A collar and tag is one of the simplest, most common forms of pet identification. Your name and contact information is inscribed on a tag that your pet wears on a collar.
Collars and tags offer the advantage of being readable by anyone, with no special equipment or training required. However, the collar might slip off or be removed, and tags can fall off. It is therefore recommended that collar-and-tag identification be accompanied by a more permanent form of pet identification such as tattooing or microchipping.
Tattooing is a permanent form of identification that involves injecting ink under your pet’s skin to create a unique identification number. This number is then linked with your contact information in a central database. Your pet should wear a collar and a tag with the database contact information on it.
Tattoos offer the advantage of being permanent and readable by anyone without specialized equipment or training. The disadvantage is that tattoos can fade and become illegible over time.
Tattooing is a relatively painful procedure and should be done under anesthetic. Tattooing could be done when your pet is being spayed or neutered.
The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) endorses microchipping as being the best method of pet identification. Microchipping involves the injection of a small microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades. The only information on the microchip is an identification number, which can be read using a special scanner, found at veterinary offices, humane societies, and SPCAs. The pet ID number is linked to the contact information you have provided to a centralized pet database. (Remember to keep this contact information updated so that you can be reached if your pet is lost.)
For added protection, it is recommended that your pet wear a collar as well as being microchipped.
Microchipping is a relatively painless procedure, which can be performed by your veterinarian without the need for anesthesia.
While not necessarily a means of pet identification per se, smartphone apps are now available that allow you to track your pet’s movements on a map. The information is transmitted to your smartphone via a transmitter attached to your pet’s collar.
Whatever form(s) of pet identification you choose, don’t forget to update your contact information if you move!