By Elyse Grau
Pet identification speaks for your pet when it cannot. Wearing an id tag will increase the chances of your dog or cat being returned to you.
The most typical form of pet id is the simple collar tag. This is usually metal, but increasingly can be made of plastic or even paper. Metal tags last the longest and resist scratching.
The id tag is attached to the collar, usually using a figure-eight type hook or a double circle. The figure -eight is usually a sturdier connection.
This type of pet identification tag needs to be engraved. You can choose to put whatever you want on the tag. At a minimum the tag should include the animal’s name and your phone number. If space allows, it is a good idea to provide at least one additional phone number, such as a cell phone, a neighbor or your vet.
By providing your address as well, the pet can be returned to you by the person finding it. City and state are not necessary; usually the animal is lost close to home. A zip code or area code is useful in case the animal gets loose somewhere farther away.
Temporary ids are made from paper or cardboard, which are then laminated or inserted into a plastic holder. These types of id tags are great for when you are traveling with your pet. Attach them to the collar in addition to the regular id. The temporary id should have the phone number or numbers where you can be reached, perhaps with the dates that you will be at these numbers.
If you want to get really fancy, you can purchase an embroidered collar for your dog or cat in place of the tag. Also, you can order a flat id that is threaded onto the collar. The drawback to this kind of tag is that it is not easily seen, and unless the finder looks for it, he may think the animal does not have a tag. The benefit is that it is unlikely to fall off, unless of course the entire collar is lost.
An even more permanent type of identification is the microchip. This is a relatively new technique that is becoming more and more common. Most animal shelters now automatically chip the animals when they are adopted.
The information embedded in the microchip also resides on the providing company’s database, and can be accessed from anywhere in the country. The chip can then be traced back to the purchaser of the chip, not necessarily directly to you.
Since the tag cannot be seen or felt, the animal can also wear a tag that tells people it has been chipped. In order to read the microchip, the dog or cat will need to be brought to a police station, vet’s office or animal shelter. Not all chips are compatible with all scanners, although improvements have been made in this area.
The firms that provide the chip also provide a recovery service. This is separate from the chip registration. An annual fee is charged. You register your pet with your information. If the pet is found and taken to someone who can scan the chip, the animal can be returned to you within twenty-four hours. There are also independent companies that provide lost-pet services, using any microchip brand.
Elyse Grau founded The Original Dog Biscuit Company, a natural dog biscuit producer. She is a herbalist, preferring to treat her animals holistically. She has made it a point to learn as much about animal nutrition as possible. You can read more of her articles at: