Pet Tips

Tip 64 – Identification for cats and dogs

Cats and dogs must have identification on them at all times. It does not matter if the cats are strictly indoor cats or if the dog only goes to relieve itself in your fenced backyard. Cats and dogs can and do escape all the time. They dig under fences and they escape through doors and windows while you aren’t looking. One of your best recovery elements if they ever run away or get lost is their identification.

The simplest, cheapest and most common form of pet identification is a cat or dog ID tag. Pet ID tags are available at almost every pet store, in veterinary offices, or on this or other internet sites. Make sure they are well attached to a secure collar and NEVER take them off or assume for one minute that they are safe without them. Tens of thousands of lost pets without identification end up destroyed in shelters or used for experimentation in animal laboratories. The most important piece of information to put on that tag is the pet’s telephone number WITH the area code. Engrave 2 numbers if space permits.

Another useful form of identification is microchipping. Sometimes Pet ID tags and collars fall off or break free. Microchipping cats and dogs is a permanent (though invisible to people in the neighborhood) identification method. Most vets and humane/rescue societies will check to see if a lost pet has been microchipped. Microchips are teeny devices that your vet implants just under your pet’s skin. All of the pet’s pertinent contact information is scanned on that permanent chip. It is a relatively cheap device usually costing less than $60.00 dollars. Laboratories that use stray/unrecovered pets for experiments will not experiment on your precious lost microchipped pet. The drawback with microchipping is that most but not all microchip scanners can read all microchips. The standard is becoming more universal, but it’s not quite there yet.

Tattooing your cat and dog is another great and permanent way to protect them if they ever get lost. Tattooing dogs and cats has been done routinely since the sixties and is a relatively painless procedure. Normally a number is tattooed on the groin of the pet. That number MUST be listed with a pet registry to be of the highest value. If your pet ever gets lost the tattoo is a great identification marker.You can post a lost and found notice and say your pet has a tattoo. Many shelters will not destroy a tattooed pet, and some will hold it for a longer period of time than a non tattooed pet. It also drastically reduces the chance that your lost pet will end up in an animal research laboratory. The main problem is that on some breeds of dog or cat the tattoo becomes less legible over time. Make sure to get a recommendation for a skilled pet tattooist.

The obvious point is that multiple ID methods are the best choice for your pet. Take the time to call your vet and investigate the options NOW. Once your pet is lost it’s too late. Also make sure to have a good clear updated photo of your pet should you ever need it.

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