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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lost Dog

One In three pets will get lost sometime in their lives. Those are terrifying statistics. Are you prepared? Have you taken all the important steps to keep your pet safe? Do you know what to do if your pet does get lost? It's important to know what to do and do it quickly to assure that your pet is one of the lucky ones.
First, just as you carry ID when you leave the house, your pet should also have ID. Dogs and cats should have identification tags attached to their collars. The tags should give the owner's address and phone number. It might also be helpful to have as second contact phone number, a friend or relative that is usually at home when you're not, or your veterinarian. The address and phone number should always be up to date. If you haven't updated Fido's tag since you moved or changed your phone number, now is the time to do it.

ID tags come in steel, bronze or plastic and in many shapes and colors. Choose whatever you like, but be sure they have enough room for the important information and check them frequently to be sure they're in good condition and legible.
The plastic tags can break and tags that have the information stamped on them can become illegible if the animal is very active or the tag gets hard use. My dogs playing in dirt and water frequently have rubbed the lettering off some tags. I choose tags that are engraved instead of stamping. The letters are deeper and dirt and rub marks don't cause the letters to fade.

There are many places to purchase ID tags, especially online. I use Boomerang Tags. They are deeply engraved and will print on both sides of the tag. I have my info on one side and my vet's on the back.

What if your dog is out without a collar or the collar breaks? How will anyone know who he belongs to? For many years dogs have been identified by tattoos. Usually the dog is tattooed on the right earlobe or the inner thigh. There are a couple registries that keep track of tattoos. They are National Dog Registry and Tattoo-A-Pet.

The number tattooed on your pet should be registered with one or both of them. If someone finds your missing pet and reports to them, they will contact you. Most animal control people and vets know where to look for a tattoo. Sometimes, however, with very long haired dogs, it's not easy to find a tattoo.

A microchip is the size of a grain of rice and holds a unique number. The chip is inserted between the shoulders of a dog or cat and the number is readable with a scanner. Vets and shelters have the scanners to read the number. There are several registries that will match the number with the owner's information and contact the owner.

The three registries in this country are Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) run by the American Kennel Club, Home Again, and American Veterinary Identification Devices (AVID). The owner must be sure to register the microchip with one or more of these registries. Today, many dog breeders have their puppies microchipped before they go to their new homes.

So, your dog is chipped or tattooed and has a collar with up to date tags. Now what? As soon as the dog is missing, calls should be made to the local animal control and shelter. It's also a good idea to contact any veterinarians in the area. There is an organization called Find Toto which when contacted about a missing pet, automatically makes calls to neighbors within a certain geographic area. They act as a clearing house for any sightings and keep the owner up to date.


Don't delay.
Make sure you have a lock on the fence so neighborhood kids can't open it and let Fido out.

Check his ID tags to be sure the information is up to date and legible.

Make an appointment with your vet to have a microchip inserted. It doesn't hurt. My dogs were so distracted by the yummy liver treats being offered, they didn't even react.

Register the microchip with one or more registries.

Have the vet scan each year at your regular appointment to be sure the chip is reading properly.

Make a list of important phone numbers: animal control, local shelter, vets in the area, FindToto
and keep it handy.

I hope none of us ever have our pets get lost, but if they do, being prepared in advance can make the difference between being reunited with our pet or tragedy.
Be sure to drop in on The other Dogs On Thursday and say hello.

Mr Linky isn't cooperating with me today, so just leave a comment.
edited: This has been fixed! Please add your name to the linky below!

11 comments:

soulbrush said...

excellent post. we have a collar, tag and chip and our little snuffles is never out of our sights. pleeeese don't leave your dogs outside shops, even if you think you can see them. that's what they do here in the UK, and so many get taken and then the owner gets 'blackmailed' in order to get their own dog back. i only have a telephone number on her tag, NOT an address and NOT the dogs name!!

Madame Purl said...

Wow that's horrible Soulbrush.

I have mine micro-chipped. We don't put the names of our dogs on the tags either and I watch when they are in our fence yard like a hawk. Actually I watch for hawks too since I have one the size of a rabbit. All of these are excellent tips.

momsue84 said...

Wonderful post! Thank you so much for all the information. We all live in fear of losing our beloved pets. This is spot on for making sure that doesn't happen. Thank you.

Tobi said...

I like to check and make sure the tags are still readable. They get so scratched up sometimes and need to be replaced.

GoldenTracks said...

great post. Microchip, microchip, microchip

Nichole said...

Excellent post Sue!!!!!!

Channon said...

Great advice!!

Rose said...

Great post!

microchips for dogs said...

I don't get this."Boomerang Tags." Could you please enlighten me on this? I keep following all your posts hope you can regularly post more. I get very useful information here. Thanks for having this.



microchipping dogs

microchips for dogs said...

I don't get this."Check his ID tags to be sure the information is up to date and legible." Could you please enlighten me on this? I keep following all your posts hope you can regularly post more. I get very useful information here. Thanks for having this.



microchipping dogs

microchips for dogs said...

I don't get this."Check his ID tags to be sure the information is up to date and legible." Could you please enlighten me on this? I keep following all your posts hope you can regularly post more. I get very useful information here. Thanks for having this.



microchipping dogs