Why tagging your pets is a good 'iDea'

This guest post is written byMatthew Bershadker, President & CEO, ASPCA.

Millions of cats and dogs go missing every year. While some make it back home, thousands of pets are never reunited with their owners. ASPCA research conducted in 2012 found that an estimated 153,000 dogs and nearly 680,000 cats are lost and never found each year. For the lost dogs and cats that end up in shelters, only 15 to 30 percent of dogs and roughly 5 percent of cats are reunited with their owners.

A big factor in these results is a lack of ID tagging. Knowing about ID tags is one thing, but actually using them quite another. In a 2010 study conducted by the ASPCA, 80 percent of pet parents said they think it’s important for cats and dogs to wear ID tags. But only 33 percent said they actually had tags on their own pets.

Microchipping your pet is certainly a smart idea - tags can get lost or pulled off, after all. But don’t let microchipping lull you into a false sense of security. Accessing and getting information from a microchip requires equipment and expertise. Also, if a cat is wandering around without a collar it could easily be mistaken as feral. Unidentified animals not only run a high risk of winding up in an already overcrowded shelter, but of never making it out as well.

Most pets - even finicky ones - can learn to comfortably wear a collar. It’s just a matter of training them properly.

Here are some tips:

  • Try getting your pet accustomed to wearing a collar and tag at a young age. It’s usually easier to train a kitten or puppy.
  • Make sure the collar fits comfortably. You should be able to fit one finger between the collar and your pet’s neck.
  • When the collar is on, set up distractions and enrichment opportunities. Try hiding treats around the house or helping them play with their toys. The busier they are, the less time they’ll have to focus on the collar.

However you approach this important task, make sure you do it. As the weather gets warmer, we tend to leave windows and doors open to let fresh air inside, making easier for that curious cat or playful pup to get out. At that point, ID tagging may make the difference between life at home and a life of homelessness.


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