Pet Identification

One of the most important and most frequently overlooked aspects of pet safety is pet identification. A frightening number of dogs and cats enter the animal shelter system each year. In fact, the sheer volume alone has forced legislation to shorten the required shelter holding time to as few as 36 hours before euthanasia. With this in mind, you can see how easily your beloved pet could be destroyed if you don”t take appropriate measures to clearly identify him so that he can be returned quickly should he become lost.

Traditional Pet Identification Tags

Pet ID tags are the most reliable way to ensure your dog or cat makes it home safe and sound. Each tag displays your animal”s name, his license number and your phone number. If your animal does become lost, the idea is that the person who finds him or her will call to tell you their location and arrange a reunion.

The Wave of the Future in Pet Identification: Microchips

A more modern version of traditional identification, microchips are implanted under the skin. The chip contains the same information as a regular tag and is read using a specialized scanner. Collars and pet ID tags should still be used for those animals who are “chipped.” A collar and tag instantly marks an animal as “owned,” so that he”s not mistaken for a stray if he ever finds his way to a shelter.

One of the drawbacks to microchips is that identification of your pet can only be made using the scanner designed to read the chip that”s implanted, and not all shelters carry all the different types of scanners. In addition, a microchip may require one or two additional visits to the vet every year to make sure the chip is still positioned correctly and functioning properly.


Although you”ll never have to worry about a lost tag or having a microchip shift out of place, tattooing is an invasive and unpleasant method of identification. The biggest problem is that it”s impossible to update your contact information when changes are made without significant discomfort to the animal.

As with microchips, maintaining traditional forms of identification for additional protection is a good idea.