Thursday, July 30, 2015

Does your pet have ID?


Last winter, when the snow covered cars and the plows blocked my driveway, my family and neighbors were outside shoveling. Then my son, Jordon, asked why there was a big dog on our front porch. I looked up and saw the most beautiful Siberian husky.

Fortunately, for me, he was friendly. Fortunately for him, he had an ID tag. His name was Muchacho (Spanish for boy), and his ID tag also listed a phone number. My Spanish (from high school) is quite poor. However, I was able to call Muchacho’s parents and tell them I found their dog. The story had a happy ending.

I’m telling you this because it is essential for our pets to have ID tags. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) released a study showing that while 80 percent of pet owners think that ID tags are important, only about 30 percent report having ID tags on their pets.

“Personalized ID tags that contain contact information for the dog or cat owner can help assure lost animals are quickly reunited with their owners,” says Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of shelter research and development for the ASPCA. 


I later learned that Muchacho had a microchip, and while I think microchips are important, I don’t own a microchip scanner. So ID tags are crucial. “A lot of cat owners don’t put collars with ID tags on their indoor cats,” says Dr. Weiss. “They believe since they are indoor cats, they won’t get out. The problem is that some of these cats do get out, and when they are spotted many of us think they may be feral.”

“Microchips are a great addition to an ID tag,” continues Dr. Weiss. “However, Willow, the cat that was in the news who lived in Boulder, CO, and was found five years later in New York City, had a microchip. Willow may have been returned home sooner if she had an ID tag.”

Dr. Weiss recommends that ID tags have the pet’s name and your cell phone number on them.

Michele C. Hollow writes about pets, wildlife, interiors, travel, and other lifestyle topics. She oversees the animal advocacy blog Pet News and Views.

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