What's in this article
It’s a mighty big world out there …
Should your pet go missing, the identification you have attached to him or her is usually the key factor in determining whether or not your pet will make it home.
In spite of our best efforts to keep our pets safe, they can become lost, injured or stolen.
Losing your pet is an awful experience for you and, for sure, your pet too.
There are three common methods of pet identification … some simple, some permanent and some high tech.
Your best bet is to use more than one.
Pet collars with identification tags a simple but effective method of pet identification.
Pet id tags are easy to see and read, inexpensive and can be applied quickly.
A simple cat id tag can provide enough information to ensure you are easily contacted … should someone find your missing pet.
A must do, if you are moving or traveling.
Tattoos for pets
Tattooing is a form of permanent pet identification.
A pet tattoo should be applied by an experienced veterinarian or a highly recommended trained specialist.
Tattoos are usually applied in the ear or sometimes the inner leg under anesthesia.
My cats had them done when they were spayed and neutered.
They can fade over time and might require a touch up.
On a dark skinned animal the tattoo is not as noticeable.
As a general rule, tattoos are most effective in the city or area in which they were applied and registered.
If you move and don’t update your contact information – the tattoo might be very difficult to trace.
Your pet’s tattoo should be registered with the vet or specialist that applied it.
There are also registries where you can register the tattoo – ask for a recommendation from your vet or animal shelter.
Inserting microchips in your pets can be an effective method of pet tracking … but it is not foolproof.
Pet microchips have been under scrutiny. This high tech method of pet identification works well if animal rescue, animal control, and pet homeless shelters have the correct (or any) equipment to read these chips. Some microchips and scanners operate using different frequencies.
The United States is promoting their ‘universal’ scanner using the FECAVA standard. In Canada, vets use both the FECAVA and the ISO standard. If you are moving or travel with your pet be aware that some microchips are not common to all countries.
Before you purchase a microchip for your pet or if you have already done so, or moved … make sure your local animal shelters and other animal welfare agencies have a compatible scanner that will detect and read that brand of microchip.
Microchips are usually placed between a cat’s shoulder blades by your vet and contain an identification number.
If your pet’s microchip is scanned by a hand held – and compatible – scanner, an internet data base will immediately provide your contact information.
Other information stored in the database can include immunization records, your vet and pet’s name and a possible reward.
I understand the needle used to inject the microchip is quite large so it might not be entirely painless.
If you are not too keen on having your pet microchipped, you can also purchase collars with these microchips embedded in them.
No method of pet identification is entirely reliable.
Collars disappear, tattoos might not be seen and microchips have not been detected.
The best approach is to use more than one method of pet ID.
It’s easy to forget … but if emergency contact information changes, you are moving or give your cat or dog away, do keep the contact information updated and advise the appropriate registry, database and your veterinarian.
Hopefully, in the event your pet does go missing, the efforts you have made to identify him or her as your own will pay off and you will be easily reunited.