Anyone who has ever lost their dog, even for a moment, knows how harrowing that experience can be. The stress, the fear, the fact that you simply don’t know where your little one is too much to bear. Unfortunately, things like this can happen which is why it’s important that you invest in getting some good ID systems for your dogs. It will make finding your dog much easier, and help ease your mind.
Registering for a dog license
If you live in the US, you need to get a license for your dog. Regulations vary from state to state, but generally, you’ll need proof that your dog got its rabies shots. There are many benefits to getting a dog license, namely if the police come in contact with your dog, they can easily look up your information and easily return your dog to you. A dog being licensed in your states or cities registry will provide identification data that may get him back to you more easily. These are also often a prerequisite for microchips as well, but more on that later.
Collar tags are the classic method for pet identification. They let people know, at a glance, that this dog has an owner and a home. These are very easy and cheap to get, and are the simplest way to identify your dog. At the very least, they should have the name of the dog and a way to contact you like a phone number or address. There are so many dog tags on the market, they range from a simple metal tag to elaborate handcrafted style statements. If you’re worried about the constant jingling, look into plastic ones or even a collar attachment like the one below.
Collar tags are a great, however, they can get lost, torn, and the tags themselves can fade away or get damaged. Unless you invest in some good, high-quality collars and tags, you can expect to replace them regularly once a year or so.
The benefits of a collar tag are in its simplicity–easy to buy, put on, and cheap and simple, but they are ultimately unreliable since collar tags can fall off. A lost dog’s tag (or even the whole collar!) can slip off, and without a chip, it can be difficult for someone to identify your dog.
Microchips are fairly standard these days. Most vet offices and shelter have a scanner to read them. You’ll notice that both veteran and first time dog owners will combine chips with collars. The chip itself is very small, a bit larger than a grain of rice. It’s usually inserted in the back of your dog’s neck. Know that the procedure is completely safe, and complications are rare.
Microchips often carry a registration fee plus the actual price of the implant. In the long run, the peace of mind it offers is ultimately worth it.
I know it’s difficult to think about, but it’s best to prepare for the possibility of your dog getting lost or running away. Walking gear can fail at any time, so it’s best to back up your gear and combine multiple methods of identification just in case.
PS: Some of these are partner products, which means if you purchase, PetInsider may get something in return.