Every Day Is Tag Day: Make Sure Your Pet Gets Home Safe and Sound
By: Jeff Noce, i4C Innovations President
As a dog parent, I can imagine almost nothing worse than Scout going missing. That’s why I take every precaution to make sure that he doesn’t get loose or wander off.
But, no matter how protective and watchful we are, sometimes things happen. Someone leaves a door open. A workman forgets to close the gate. And the next thing you know, your pet has taken himself for an unsupervised walk.
In 2012, the American Society for the Protection of Animals (ASPCA) conducted the first ever “lost pet” survey. They contacted 1,015 pet owners via telephone to find out how many pets got lost, how many made it home, and how they were found
According to the survey, for those who had cared for a dog in the last five years, 15 percent had lost a dog the past five years and 85 percent of those lost dogs were recovered. The survey also found that a good number of pets (15 percent) were recovered because of their tag or microchip.
Identification is especially important if a lost dog ends up being taken to a shelter. Other sources indicate that of strays that come into the shelter without a tag or microchip, only 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats find their way home (according to a Shelter Statistics Survey conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy NCPPSP 1994-1997). Yet many pet parents don’t understand how much of a difference it could make for them and for their pet by purchasing a simple and inexpensive tag.
That’s why the American Humane Association has declared the first Saturday in April “Every Day Is Tag Day™.”
Here are some important things to consider when it comes to ID for your pets:
Make sure the information is up-to-date
When most of us move, the first thing we do is submit a change-of-address form to the post office. However, it can be easy to forget to update our pets’ tags or microchips. If your pet goes missing, having up-to-date info on the tags or microchip database will help him get home more quickly.
Check tags periodically for wear
After awhile, the engraving on tags can become illegible through wear or too dirty to read. The next time you leash up your dog or pet your cat, take a look at the tags. If they’re difficult to read, it’s time to clean them or replace them.
Ask your vet to scan for the microchip at checkups
Give yourself extra peace of mind by asking your vet to make sure the microchip can be easily found and scanned.
Get a temporary tag when traveling
It’s bad enough if your dog gets loose at home. But when you’re in an unfamiliar place, it can be doubly terrifying for both of you. A temporary tag with a local number of the place where you are staying can help alleviate a lot of worry.
Hopefully you’ll never have to endure the worry that comes with a lost pet. But if the unthinkable should happen, an up-to-date tag and/or microchip will go a long way toward getting them home safe and sound.
I’d like to hear from you. Have you ever lost and then found a pet? E-mail your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Noce is the President of i4C Innovations. Jeff has owned both Labrador Retrievers and Mastiffs, and today his family includes Scout, an English Mastiff (pictured in the image at the top of this page) that accompanies him to work each day.
Jeff’s weekly blog posts can be found every Thursday, right here on MyDogsVoyce.com.