Veterinary Viewpoints: Finest reward for pets, their homeowners | Information

STILLWATER – Give your pet the best gift this holiday season – a collar with dog tags and a microchip.

Unfortunately, many are never found again when pets migrate or flee their homes. Often times, pets are picked up by an animal control officer or dropped off by residents in an animal shelter. The recovery rate from animal shelters for dogs is between 17 and 30 percent and for cats between 3 and 5 percent.

A collar with an ID tag enables a finder to contact you immediately. All collars should have a safety / tear-away construction so that pets do not let the collar hang on something and suffocate. ID tags are available online or can be ordered from many pet stores and veterinary offices.

Cats can learn to wear a collar and dog tags. Cat tags are usually smaller and made of material that won’t clink when your kitten walks around the house at midnight.

A rabies label is not enough for a pet. This is not true because vets cannot share customers’ private information. In addition, veterinarians are usually only open and closed during regular business hours when your pet is most likely to go missing – holidays, when your home is busier than normal, or on weekends.

An implanted microchip offers a worry-free, permanent and 24/7 form of identification. They are especially useful for proving ownership. Most animal shelters require proof of ownership in order to reclaim your pet – either veterinary records or recent photos of you and your pet together.

However, microchips have disadvantages. Owners must register the chip at the time of implantation and keep their contact information updated in the microchip’s databases. Today, many animal shelters microchip the animals before they are put up for adoption. The new owner must update the records and identify themselves as the owner of the pet. If not, a scanned chip will only lead to a dead end.

Another disadvantage is that most people have no way of reading the chip. Shelters and most animal hospitals read and scan chips for recovered pets. However, this will delay the chance of you getting your pet home right away. An ID tag combined with a current microchip increases the chances of your lost pet coming back.

If your pet escapes or migrates, it is best to search locally. Most pets are within three to five miles of their home. Knock on the doors and tell all of the neighbors your pet is missing. Post information on your social media accounts, post leaflets in your area, and notify your local animal shelter and veterinarian office. Be persistent and visit your shelter every day. Remember that an ID collar and microchip are your best resources for getting your pet home safely. Give your pet the best gift ever with ID and microchip today.