Every Day is Tag Day: Why You Should Identify Your Pet

I’ve learned that my dog, Zoey, a miniature schnauzer/yorkie mix, can be very mischievous. Our yard is not fenced in, but we trained her to stay by the house when she’s outside and to come in when called. She was well behaved…or so we thought.

I remember one time when she saw a rabbit and her focus changed in an instant. ZOOM! Off she went through our neighbor’s yard and around the corner, out of sight. We couldn’t find her for a half hour (which seems like forever if you’re searching for your pet) until another neighbor from a few doors down walked to our house with Zoey in hand. The only way he knew where she belonged is by the tag on her collar that had our address.

April 2 is deemed Every Day is Tag Day by the American Humane Association (AHA) in an effort to make sure all pets are tagged and microchipped in case they become separated from their owners.

According to the AHA website, millions of dogs and cats are taken to animal shelters as strays, and very few pets with no ID tag or microchip — 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats — are able to return to their homes. With proper identification, pets can find their families again more easily.

Tags serve to identify your pet to anyone he may come across. The tags that your pet should have on his collar include ID, rabies vaccination and any city or county licenses, if they are needed. The ID tag should have your name, address, phone number and pet’s name. It also doesn’t hurt to have a temporary tag on hand if you’re traveling and a friend or family member is watching your pet while you’re away. This tag should have the contact information of whoever is watching your pet so that if your pet gets loose, the caretaker can be alerted. Be sure this person has a way to contact you!

Microchips help identify your pet at shelters and veterinary clinics. These chips are implanted under the skin of your dog or cat so that they can be scanned and matched with a unique ID, and then looked up in a database to find the owner’s information. This procedure is done only once and costs an average of $45. Once the microchip is in place, it will need to be registered in a national pet recovery database such as HomeAgain, which can be done online. This is a great and permanent way to ensure that your pet has a way to be found, but you’ll need to update the information in the chip if you move or switch phone numbers.

Even if your pet is in a fenced yard or always indoors, there’s a chance they could slip out through a gate or door. Personally, it’s not worth the risk of your pet going without identification. I learned that when Zoey decided to chase that rabbit. Please use this day to get your pet tagged and chipped so that he can be identified every day!

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