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You love your pet and would be devastated if he or she were lost or stolen. The only way your pet would find his/her way home is by having proper identification. What kind of Pet Id should you use? HART has identified the most common forms of Pet Ids and has identified the pros and cons of each:

The Collar Tag (#1 Form of Identification)
A lost pet’s BEST ticket home is an identification tag worn on the collar.

  • 95% of lost pets found without a tag DO NOT get returned to their owners!

  • 95% of lost pets found with a tag DO get returned to their owners!

All pets should wear collars and tags at all times, whether in a home or out in the backyard. The general public is conditioned to look for a collar tag that clearly displays the dog’s personal information (dog’s name, phone number of owner, etc). Lost pets that are wearing a rabies tag or other type of identification get preferred care when they are picked up by animal control authorities. They receive medical treatment, if necessary, are allowed more time in the shelter before being euthanized, and are usually returned to their family.

One problem with tags is that they can be lost or the collar may be removed. When attaching the tag to the collar do not use the "S" hook. Many tags have been lost this way. Use the key-ring type of attachment, or better yet, have the tag riveted onto the collar.

The Tattoo
Tattooing has routinely been done to identify animals for many years. Tattoos cannot be removed or lost. This will help identify your pet and get it returned to you (most animal shelters will not destroy a tattooed pet). It helps deter theft and ensures that your pet will not wind up in a laboratory somewhere. Place the tattoo on the inside of your pet’s thigh. This is much harder to remove than one placed on the ear.

You must get the tattoo number registered, or it is not useful in locating you. The most well-known registries, I.D. Pet and National Pet Registry, have both been in operation since the mid-1960's. Unfortunately, tattooes can fade over time. Also, especially in double-coated or long-haired breeds, it may be hard to find the tattoo when the hair grows back.

The Microchip
An alternative increasingly popular throughout North America is the injected microchip. This is the latest technology, and it could well be the way of the future. The microchip contains a numbering system that is readable with a scanner. There are three manufacturers and four microchips that have been produced:

  • AVID is marketed by Avid and IdentIchip. An AVID Scanner can read all chips but the Trovan chips.

  • Trovan is marketed by Infopet. Trovan scanners can only read Trovan chips.

  • Destron is marketed under a variety of names. A Destron scanner can read all manufacturers’ chips.

Each company has their own database to register with. Each microchip has a code that is assigned to you and your pets.

Since a microchip is invisible and cannot be detected or decoded without a compatible scanner, the average person who might find a pet has know way of knowing it is there. Not all shelters check for the chip, but increasing numbers are doing so in the U.S. Many shelters, especially in rural areas, do not have a scanner at all. And even those shelters that do have scanners, may not have one that can read the chip in your pet.

HART currently recommends the combination of Collar Tag and Tattooing to identify your pet.