• Laura Lynn O’Nan, Education Coordinator

The importance of pet identification

The thought of your precious four-legged companion getting lost may bring you a wide array of worry, panic and stress. As pet owners, we all know the importance of identification on our pets. However, only one-third of pet owners actually have their pets wearing tags at all times. Why do you think this is? Many people believe that because their pets don’t require tags if they never go outdoors or only go out into a fenced in yard. However, doors and gates get left open, holes are dug, and pets go missing.

What can you do to help keep your pets from becoming lost forever? First, look into getting a sturdy collar and adjust it to fit properly. Be sure that it is snug enough it can’t be slipped over their ears, but loose enough you can fit two fingers in between. Have an engraved identification tag made and attach it to the collar. This tag should, at the least, contain your current phone number so that you may be reached in case your pet is found by a stranger. On most pet ID tags, there is usually room to add the pet’s name, your name, and/or a second phone number. This will depend on the size of the tag itself, and if, you can engrave both sides or just one.

Having your pets microchipped is another step that will help you and your lost pet to be reunited. Microchips are implanted, using a syringe and needle, just under the skin between the shoulder blades. These small chips are about the size of a grain of rice and each one is assigned a unique number. Once registered to an owner, this unique number is then recorded into a large database containing the pet and owner’s information. When a pet that has been microchipped is found, its number can be scanned by a veterinary clinic, animal control agency, or a rescue like ours. With that number in hand, we can find out to reach the pet’s owner and get them back home.

Be sure to keep your information, provided on ID tags or linked to the microchip, current and up-to-date to ensure your pet has the best chance of returning to your loving arms. It’s also a good idea to keep an extra ID tag on hand just in case your pet loses theirs. This will allow you to quickly replace the missing one right away.

What should you do if you find a lost pet? First, be cautious. Some lost pets are confused and frightened. Move slowly and speak with a calm, gentle voice and let them come to you. If possible, take a picture and check for an ID tag. If they are wearing a tag with a phone number, call that number. If there is not an ID tag, call Woodford County Animal Control. They can scan for a microchip and provide a safe holding facility for lost pets while their owners are sought.

Never try and keep a pet that may be missing from their home. Their family is likely very worried and in desperate search of them, and it’s important to give them the best possible chance to be reunited. If you are interested in providing a home for a pet you have found, let the animal control officer or rescue professional who assists you know that you are interested in adopting if no owner is located. For more information on pet identification, feel free to contact us at woodfordhumane.org.

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