National Pet ID Week: the importance of tags, collars and microchips

It’s National Pet ID Week, folks — and that means it’s time to talk about why pet IDs are so important.  We’re talking about tags, collars and microchips. 

Losing your pet can be a traumatic and even tragic event. With proper identification, shelter workers across the country could reunite pets with their people. Every pet, including indoor only animals, should wear a collar and an ID Tag as identification. 

Call "Valley Creations" for a custom made Pet ID Tag. 50 Ksh per tag goes to TNR Trust!

Call “Valley Creations” for a custom made Pet ID Tag. 50 Ksh per tag goes to TNR Trust!

Unfortunately, collars and ID tags are not foolproof and dogs and cats can still get lost. Collars can break or fall-off, leaving your beloved pet among the countless, unidentified lost strays at animal shelters. Many of these tragedies occur every day worldwide, but the fact is that it can easily be prevented with the use of microchips

What are microchips?

Microchips are implantable computer chips that encode a unique identification number to help reunite you with your lost pet. They are no bigger than a grain of rice and they are placed under your pet’s skin with a needle and syringe, not much differently than a routine vaccine.

Unlike collars and ID tags, they can never break or fall-off. They work by receiving a radio signal from a scanner and transmitting the encoded chip identification number back to the scanner. With the chip identification number in hand, the vital contact information is only a phone call away.

Of course, in order for a microchip to work, you will need to register the microchip and keep your contact information up-to-date. Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they ultimately depend on the information that you give. So remember to update your information and provide multiple emergency contacts in case your pet gets lost while you are out of town.

Dog and Cat microchip

Studies support the importance of microchipping

2009 study by Linda Lord, DVM, PhD from the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine supports what veterinarians and animal shelters have known all along. Dogs and cats with microchips are more likely to be returned to their owners than pets without. According to Science Daily, the study reported that cats with microchips were 20 times more likely to be returned home than cats without, while dogs with microchips were 2.5 times more likely to be returned home than those without. The results of this study underscore the importance of microchips.

Hopefully your pet will never get lost, but in case it happens, by making sure your pet has a microchip, you are giving yourself and your pet the best chance of a speedy, happy reunion. Just ask Toffee! She and her owners learned the hard way what it meant not being micro-chipped…

Through the kindness of strangers, Toffee was kept from getting hit by a car and they notified TNR Trust to come and help catch the little rascal. After giving us a bit of a merry chase through the woods while trying to dodge ISK School traffic, we were able to catch her and bring her to the vet for a check-up. Toffee had a nasty looking wound that looked like an injury from barbed wire, but she was fine once it was healed up. She also received rabies and tetanus shots and was dewormed.

 As she did not have a microchip, collar or tag, we posted her on our Facebook page and other forums. The owners saw the poster and contacted us. They footed the full vet bill and were made aware that if Toffee would have had a microchip, they would have been reunited much quicker.

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