The American Humane Association estimates that over 10 million dogs and cats are lost every year. They also estimate that 1 in 3 pets will be lost at some point in their lives. Although those are some scary statistics, when you realize just how quickly your dog or cat can dash out an open door or escape a yard, they may not seem that unrealistic.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take as a responsible pet owner to increase the chances of a safe reunion. Here are our best tips for making ID easy and keeping your pets safe.

Microchipping

Pet microchipping is an easy, safe, and affordable way to give your pet the best chance of being reunited with you. Microchips are tiny capsules (the size of a grain of rice) that are placed under a pet’s skin during their annual exam. Once the chip is placed, it must be registered with the national pet recovery database with your contact information. If your pet is ever lost, any veterinary hospital or shelter can scan for the chip, and bring up the unique microchip ID that is linked to your contact information. The microchip company is then called, and they call you with the location of your pet. If you’d like to get your pet microchipped, contact either our Westfield or Union locations.

Because they are securely placed under the skin, microchips can never be lost, stolen, or damaged. It’s a permanent source of identification that never expires. Even indoor pets can benefit from microchips, as in the event of an evacuation, or if you have an escape artist on your hands!

Collar and Tags

A collar and tags for your pet are important first sources of identification since they can be easily seen. Your pet should have a well-fitted collar with a current ID tag, rabies tag, and city/county license tag.

Unfortunately, more often than not, tags are not updated with new phone numbers, addresses, and even owner names. To ensure this happens in a timely fashion, order new tags for your pet’s collar as soon as you have a new address. There are also plenty of technologically advanced tags and collars on the market today, from GPS trackers to “smart” tags that connect to BlueTooth, so if your pet is prone to escape, it might make sense to research some of those, as well.

It’s also important to make sure that your pet’s collar fits properly, and that they can’t slip out of the collar easily if they become lost. You should be able to slide only two fingers between your dog’s collar and neck. If you have questions about dog or cat collar fit, please call us or ask us at your pet’s next wellness exam.

The loss of a pet can be heartbreaking, but pets with ID tags and microchips are much more likely to find their way home to their loving family. If you have any questions about microchips or if your pet has been lost, please contact our team.