By Helen Broadley for FidoActive
Proper identification for your pet literally could be the difference between life and death.
The American Humane Society reported that approximately 10 million companion animals become separated from their owner each year, of which 6 – 8 million end up in the shelter system. Only 15 percent of the dogs without some form of ID are ever reunited with their owners.
This is a heart-breaking statistic for both the dog and their human family, as the odds of finding your dog at a shelter in the small window of opportunity are very slim. While most states have laws requiring a minimum holding period for dogs, they have very limited space, so it may only be a few days or weeks, after which they may be euthanized, if they are not one of the lucky few to be saved by a local rescue center for re-homing.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED! Not everything is in our control and accidents happen, whether that be a house or forest fire, someone leaving the gate open, fireworks exploding or a traffic accident. So, should any of these unfortunate episodes happen to you, and your dog runs off, their safe return really does depend on some form of identification.
Although ID tags have long been a tried and tested method for returning missing pets, recent years have seen an increase in the popularity of MICROCHIPPING – which is NOT painful for your pooch or your pocket! Most veterinarians have a standard low cost fee – it literally takes seconds to insert the tiny chip – and it can be even more cost effective to get it done at the same time as their normal health check/ vaccinations visit or when being neutered. The fee normally includes the registration in the pet recovery system too.
Having said that, some people may be reluctant to approach a dog without a collar, or haven’t the means to transport the dog to a local veterinarian or shelter, so we’d recommend you take the “belt & braces” approach and make sure your pooch has both a collar and a chip. Most people would be happy to make a quick phone call to try and track down the dog’s owner.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST – once you’ve gone to the trouble of tagging and microchipping it is essential that you keep the contact information up to date. Also, if you’re out of town for business or on vacation, ensure you put some temporary location and/or alternative contact details, to ensure you can be reached – even if it’s just for a few days! The short time it takes to ensure your beloved pet’s safety is well worth the effort and could save you a lot of heartache.
So, don’t delay – check your furry friend’s ID today!
Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health always.