Whatever method you choose, it’s essential that you do have some method of identification on your dog. Even if you are very careful about keeping him safe and secure, he may still get out through no fault of your own. If this happens, you’ll have some peace of mind knowing that whoever picks him up will be able to get in touch with you and return him as soon as possible….
Just like you do any other valuable item, you need to have some way of identifying your dog. That way, if he ever goes missing, he has the best chance of finding his way back to you.
There are many options for identifying dogs, some permanent and some only temporary.
1. Collar identification. It’s easy to purchase an identity tag to attach to your dog’s collar. This usually features his name and your contact phone number. These are not expensive, but in my experience, they can fall off particularly if you own an active dog. Another alternative is to have these details embroidered on his collar. This is less easy to remove and it too doesn’t cost much money.
2. Tattoo. Some breeders tattoo their pups’ ears to identify each individual dog. This can be handy if a dog of that breed is found; the breed society is likely to have details of the registered owner of the dog. What about other breeds or mixed breeds? You may choose to have your dog’s name and your phone number tattooed on your dog as a form of permanent identification. He will need to be anesthetized for this which will add to the cost and you may find that not all veterinarians have the equipment to tattoo dogs in this way. Also, tattoos are not a well-publicized way of identifying your dog so a member of the public who finds him, may not know to look for one.
3. Microchip. This is a small chip that is the same size as a large rice grain that is implanted under the skin on your dog’s back, near his neck. Each chip has a unique number and this number is linked on a central database with your phone number. If your dog wanders and is picked up by animal control or taken to an animal shelter, a scanner is used to read his microchip number. From there, the shelter can find out your telephone number and call you to collect your dog. This is a very permanent way of identifying your dog, and is very safe.
Whatever method you choose, it’s essential that you do have some method of identification on your dog. Even if you are very careful about keeping him safe and secure, he may still get out through no fault of your own. If this happens, you’ll have some peace of mind knowing that whoever picks him up will be able to get in touch with you and return him as soon as possible.
Susan Wright is a veterinarian and freelance writer, often sharing helpful tips on what you can do for your dog before you spend time and money calling the vet.