National Pet ID Week
Whether out of curiosity or the instinct to escape a seemingly dangerous situation, a frightening statistic shows that 1 in 3 pets will go missing at some point in their life. If that’s not scary enough, the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) has discovered that only 15-20% of dogs that go missing are returned to their owners.
Luckily, there are two great ways pet parents can increase their chances of a safe reunion should their pet ever get lost: Identification tags and Microchips.
With the 3rd week of April being National Pet ID Week, let’s take a closer look at how you can help your fur baby get home as quickly and safely as possible.
Studies show that 80% of all pet owners believe it’s either “very important” or “extremely important” that pets wear identification tags at all times. Despite that universal importance, the same studies show that only 33% actually have a tag on their pet.
Identification tags let someone who finds your missing fur baby know who they belong to and who to call, not just what name the dog likes to be referred to. It’s a great visual way to show that someone loves this dog and is waiting anxiously for their return.
You can even get digital identification tags that have a QR code (those crazy looking square barcode things) that any of the 235 Million Americans who own a mobile device can simply scan to find out exactly how to get ahold of a missing dog’s owner.
One such retailer of digital ID tags is PetHub. They’ve done their own study on their products, and found that 96% of pets returned home thanks to a digital ID tag come back to their pet parents the same day they went missing, with 35% found within the first one to four hours.
The trick to making ID tags work for you is to make sure your pet is always wearing it, even in the safety of your home. You never know when something unforeseen could occur to let your dog loose.
As great and useful as ID tags are, they have two potential downfalls. 1) They could fall off or break. 2) They may become smudged, damaged, worn out, or otherwise unreadable.
Therefore, microchips are another great option. A microchip is a small device, barely larger than a single grain of rice, which gets implanted just beneath the surface of your dog’s skin near its shoulder blades. The process is fast and nearly painless. It can even be implanted during your pet’s spay/neuter procedure.
The way it works is when a dog gets brought in to a vet or pound, it can be scanned and the information on the microchip will appear on the electronic device. The name of the company that makes it and their phone number, as well as a registration number. The pound or vet office can then call the company, give them the registration number, and all the dog owner’s information becomes available so the dog can be safely reunited with his/her family.
To make sure a microchip is always doing its job, make sure to update your contact information with the manufacturer any time you change your phone number or address. These small devices last as long as 25 years without needing a charge or replacement, so keeping your information current is a must.
For added protection, don’t rely on just an ID tag or just a microchip. Use the two in tandem to ensure the best odds of getting your little guy home safe. Also, many municipalities require pets to be licensed, which may seem inconvenient, but can be an added measure to ensure your pet’s safe return into your loving arms.