It’s National Pet Identification Week! Is your pet easily identifiable in the event that he or she is inadvertently separated from you or another caregiver? According to the ASPCA, only 33 percent of pet parents admitted to always having ID tags on their dogs and cats (Source). Sure, you keep a close eye on your dog and know where she is at all times, but accidents happen. Leashes can be dropped, fences can be opened…the list goes on and on. Ideally, your pet will have at least one form of identification on them at all times. See below for a list of ideas.
Microchip. A microchip is the perfect example of a form of ID that is always on your pet. If you are unfamiliar with microchipping, you can read an overview here. Unlike a collar or tag, a microchip is not easily removed (by your pet or a passerby with less-than-noble intentions). Since it is internal (many people have it placed when the pet is being fixed), it is not a hinderance to daily activities. I recommend a microchip as the minimal form of identification you provide to your pet. Pros: permanent and reliable. Cons: takes some effort to get the tag read by whoever finds your pup.
Traditional dog tag. A small, engraved tag that attaches to your dog’s collar or harness (or both!), makes it easy for a lost dog to be identified instantly. These tags now come in a range of designs and prices, and can be done instantly at most major pet store chains. I ordered my pups’ tags from Calling All Dogs. Pros: can be instantly read. Cons: may not always be on your dog.
Personalized dog collar. These are great because it takes a dangly, noisy tag out of the picture. I like these from Etsy. Pros: can be instantly read. Cons: may not always be on your dog; may not be easily visible if the finder is looking for a traditional tag.
Personalized dog leash. This might be a good option for anyone with a dog who gets restless on a leash and is more likely to flee during a walk. DogIDs is one online store who offers these, as well as many other tagging options. Pros: can be instantly read. Cons: may not always be on your dog.
QR code tag. PetHub is a cool company that provides your dog with a smartphone scannable tag, thus making your personal information easily manageable online and easy to share with your dog’s caretakers. PetHub works on a subscription basis and offer collar or tag-based products. Pros: can be instantly read by smart phone users. Cons: may not always be on your dog; may not be readable for those that are not tech-savvy.
As you can see, each of the above options have their pros and cons. The safest solution is to combine two or more of these methods to ensure your dog is brought home to you safely in the event of separation.