Category Archives: pet tags

Pet Identity: Tags and Micro-Chips


By Anna Lee

Human beings have personal identification documents, such as our driver’s license, that we carry around with us. We can prove who we are by showing our identification. Our pets also need some type of identification on them at all times. Since they don’t carry a wallet around with them, what do you do? At the very least you get them identification tags, and possibly take a step further by getting a micro-chip.

Statistics from the American Human Society show that only 17% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats find their way back to their owners if they are turned into a shelter. Therefore, it is up to you to make sure that your dog or cat is properly identified with a collar, tags and a micro-chip. You want to give your dog or cat the best odds of being returned to you.

You can buy tags and have them engraved at many locations including pet stores, through catalogues and even through your vet’s office. I have seen tag making machines in the common areas of large malls. Abby has had many tags in her lifetime. She started her life as a puppy in New Jersey, so she had her first tag with her name and our address and phone number. We moved to Tennessee and then began a series of new tags with each move.

The information you choose to put on the tag is up to you. On Abby’s last three tags we only had her name and our phone number, which is sufficient information. Her rabies tag, which is also on her collar, has our vet’s name, address and phone number. You can put your address, your cell phone or home phone, your e-mail address; you decide what information you want on the tag. If your dog has a special medical condition you can get a tag made with that information. An example would be if you have a hearing impaired dog. The tag could read: Dixie is hard of hearing but knows hand signals.

If you move or change your phone number, remember to get a new tag. You need to inspect the identification tags as they do wear, become thin and break off, which just happened to one of Abby’s tags recently. Make sure you check the collar and tags at least monthly.

Another form of pet identification is a micro-chip. This is not very expensive and it will give you peace of mind. A micro-chip is the size of a grain of rice, and it contains a number that is assigned to your pet and your pet only. The chip is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. It takes a few seconds for a vet to insert a micro-chip. It does not hurt at all and most dogs and cats don’t even feel it.

The number on the microchip is entered into a database such as Central Animal Registry or PETtrac. If your dog or cat gets lost and some kind soul turns them into a shelter or humane society, a worker can run a scanner over the area where micro-chips are implanted and get a reading of the number. The number is then entered into a computer and your name, address and phone number will show on the screen.

A micro-chip is not expensive, and it is worth the peace of mind. We travel back and forth between Tennessee and New Jersey and take other vacations during the year. I like knowing that if Abby gets lost I have a good chance of her being found and returned to me. When we moved last year I contacted the micro-chip company associated with Abby’s chip and gave them my updated information. The information was changed at no additional cost.

We had it done in 2002 and we paid approximately $25 to the vet, plus a one time $20 fee to the micro-chip company. Prices vary by veterinarian but the range is somewhere between $25 – $40 to have the chip implanted and around $20 to have the information entered into the database.

Micro-chips don’t hurt your pet, and can be read at most vet offices. The micro-chip cannot wear out and it is 100 percent safe for your pet. There are no disadvantages to this type of identification.

Make sure your dog or cat is protected with a collar and tags at the very least. If you have a few extra dollars, invest in a micro-chip for added protection. Your pet is depending on you for protection.

Read more articles by Anna Lee

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Tags Will Help Your Pet Get Home Again

Many people don’t realize how important having an identification tag on your pet is. Having worked in pet shops, it is really brought home to you when you hear the stories that your customers tell you when they come in to purchase a tag. It may just be as simple as their dog got through a hole in the backyard fence, or someone came home and the dog shot out the door before they got it closed. 
One of the best stories I ever heard (it had a happy ending) was about one of my customers and their Viszla, Ginger. They took Ginger everywhere with them and had gone camping with her to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Mr. Jones (not their real name) took Ginger for a walk with him while Mrs. Jones stayed behind to tidy up after breakfast. Mr. Jones and Ginger took a walk on a hiking trail that wound up a rise to a peak between two valleys that they could walk along. The scenery was beautiful, until they saw a herd of deer. Ginger, true to her breed, took off after the deer and disappeared into one of the valleys below. Mr. Jones did his best to keep up and while he was in good shape, never had a chance.
Mr. Jones walked through the valley for hours and finally had to give up as it was getting late. He was devastated, he lost their best friend and she had no tags on. He hiked back to their campsite, trying to figure out the best way to tell his wife and try to figure out how to go about finding Ginger in a park that encompasses over 521,621.15 acres (as of September 23, 2000). So imagine his surprise and delight when he got back to their campsite and Ginger came running up to greet him. He was so happy he started to cry and then he had to explain to his befuddled wife why he was crying. She began laughing and explained to him that Ginger came back about two hours after they had started out. Ginger was smart enough to track her way back to her favorite people. While this story has a happy ending they don’t always. Needless to say after they got back from vacation, they came in and got her a complete set of tags.
While microchipping and tattoos are good, not all shelters have universal microchip readers. In my opinion having a tag on a dog is a good, simple and inexpensive way to get your dog home. There are different schools of thought of what kind of information to put on your dog tag. Some people don’t advocate putting your pet’s name on their tag. I personally tag all my animals with their name, my name, my address and two phone numbers. I put on my home number and a number of a family member that can be reached in case of an emergency and I am not available; as I don’t have a cell phone. I used to put a home and office number on my tags, but now I work from home, so Skye actually has the breeder’s phone number on her tag also. She has a second tag on with the medication that she needs to take and the vet’s phone number. I also like to use a tag that is made out of stainless steel, as I have had problems with tag breakage and chewing on tags that are not stainless steel. But I have a dog that is very oral and loves to chew.  
There are many options when you buy a pet tag today, some companies even have a number that can be called 24/7 and store your dog’s medical records; which can make it easier to retrieve them and get them home safely. Even something as simple as a rabies tag, can get your pet home again; I know because I traced a dog’s owner that way. Do your homework and get what works for you, because if your pet gets lost, they can’t ask a policeman to help them get home again.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.