Provide proper identification on your dog in the case of theft, loss, or other emergency situations.
Using more than one method of identification can increase your dog’s chances of being returned.
Local License Requirements
A license is required in most USA cities, counties and states. Your dog should always wear the license tag along with an ID tag. If your dog is picked up by a police or animal control officer, they can contact you directly, skipping a trip to the shelter. If your dog does end up in the shelter, the staff will know how to contact you. Also, many shelters will extend the time they will hold onto your dog, waiting for you to pick him up, as well as provide emergency medical treatment if required.
The downside. None, but since your dog may be end up outside your county or city, it’s a good to utilize another method of identification as well. Where to license your dog: Contact your local animal control agency for information.
Tags are the easiest and cheapest methods of identification. When the dog is found, the owner can be contacted directly and quickly, often avoiding a trip to the shelter. Be sure to include your name, address, and phone number on the tag. By adding your cell phone number as well, you can even be reached if you are out of the house when the dog is found. If you travel or move, be sure to update the information or use temporary tags.
The downside. Tags can come off or be removed by someone with ill intentions. That is why it is important to consider alternate forms of doggy ID. Where to buy tags: local pet store or veterinarian.
Microchips are inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades with a large needle and can then be read with the proper scanner. The procedure is safe and relatively inexpensive, running between $20 and $60. Microchips must be registered with your current contact information, and this registration should be updated if you move. Unlike tattoos, it is hard to remove or alter a microchip.
The downside. To be detected, a compatible scanner must be used. Before implanting a chip, contact your local shelter or animal control agency to ensure they can read the type of chip you will implant. If you have already implanted an incompatible chip, contact the chip manufacturer and ask them to provide a scanner to your local shelters and animal control agency. Where to get a microchip: veterinarian or animal shelter.
GPS Collar: They can provide you with peace of mind, especially if you are working with an anxious or fearful dog that often goes into flight mode. The device allows you to find out where your dog is at any given moment. If your dog runs away, you don’t need to wonder where he went; you can just pop onto the computer! Some devices provide instant notification when your dog goes outside the area you specify. The Global Pet Finder collar even lets you know when conditions outside become too hot or cold.
The downside. Like tags, GPS collars can come off or be removed. Consider using the collar in combination with another form of identification to ensure your pet is safe! Where to get a GPS collar: local pet store.
Tattoo: Because the needle does not reach the nerve endings of the dog’s skin, the tattooing procedure is probably not very painful and takes only two to three minutes. On average, the procedure runs about $10, with discounts for multiple pets. Select a unique number and register your contact information with a tattoo registry, such as National Dog Registry. It is not advisable to tattoo your phone number or address, because that could change. With a registry, you can easily update this information. An added benefit: it is against the law for research facilities to use a tattooed animal in experimentation. This helps to protect your dog from possible theft for use in a lab.
The downside. It is possible for someone to alter or remove a tattoo. To prevent this, do not place the tattoo on the lip or ear, because ears can be cut off and lips can be clipped. Instead, tattoos are frequently applied to the inner leg or stomach. Best places to get a tattoo: veterinarian or through a dog club or other organization.