Microchips and ID Tags Work Best When Pets Have Both

Collar ID
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Q. Which do you think is better: An ID tag, a tattoo or a microchip?

A. The use of tattoos as permanent identification for pets has for the most part been made obsolete by microchip technology. A microchip and an ID tag, however, work best together, and I recommend that every pet have both. That’s because you don’t know which one will be most useful to whoever finds your pet.

Consider these two scenarios.

Lost Pet Number 1: A Dog

You put your dog out first thing in the morning while you hop in the shower. You don’t realize, however, that a rotting post gave way overnight, opening up a section of your fence. Your dog happily trots down the street and is more than a mile away before you realize he’s not in the yard. He follows a neighbor home from her morning walk. She has seen you walk your dog but doesn’t know your name or exactly where you live. She certainly doesn’t own a microchip scanner, and since she isn’t a pet owner, she isn’t even aware that she can take your dog to most shelters and many veterinary offices to be scanned.

Fortunately, your dog has an ID tag on his collar with your current contact information on it. Your neighbor calls your cell while you’re frantically driving around the neighborhood, and you pick up your dog so quickly you aren’t even late for work.

By the way, while I always recommend your pet have a license as well, it’s not as good as an ID tag for getting a pet home, nor is the rabies tag your veterinarian’s office may give out. That’s because both reunite you with your pet through a third party — your local animal control or your veterinarian — neither of which may be open when someone finds your lost pet.

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