This July 1st, let’s do more than just get ready for fireworks on the 4th. Let’s take a moment to protect our best furiends- our dogs. On this ID Your Pet Day, we are taking a look at why IDs are so important, and why your dog should never go without one.
You carry around identification with you wherever you go, so it makes sense that your dog should too. And it’s easy! Just attaching a small ID tag with your contact information onto their collar, or inserting a painless microchip within seconds during a regular veterinary visit gives your dog a blanket of protection that could prove invaluable.
There are lots of situations which can result in your dog getting lost. They could have jumped over the fence, or dug under it in boredom or in pursuit of a critter, or even slipped out the front door when no one was looking. A move to a new house could be confusing, or a natural disaster such as a flood or earthquake could have driven them into strange territory. And if you are traveling with your dog, it only takes a second for them to escape the car or their leash.
While dogs in the movies, and occasionally in real life, can sniff their way home, many of them are soon confronted with loud noises, cars and roads, and a lot of things they just aren’t prepared for. This confusion can turn them around, and drive them farther and farther away from home, and from you.
An estimated 10 million pets go missing each year in the U.S., and of those, only 35% of dogs without IDs are found. Compare this with the 53% of dogs with IDs that return home, and the fact that those with microchips are even 2.5 times more likely to be reunited with their owners, and it’s easy to see how important IDs are!
Take Zeus, a Labrador and Rottweiler pup who got out of his yard in Arizona. A traveling couple picked him up on the highway, and dropped him off at a shelter in San Francisco. Thanks to his ID tag, the shelter was able to track down his owners and get Zeus back home. Or Lola who escaped her yard in Michigan and was found 3 years later near a forest preserve. A quick scan of her microchip led to her reunion with her family.
An ID tag doesn’t just tell someone your pup’s name and where they live, but they can also include important health information, such as if your dog has severe allergies, diabetes or epilepsy. Just like a medical alert bracelet for humans, the tag can alert rescue workers of any life-threatening conditions, and allow them to safely care for your dog until they get them back home to you. And some microchips even include health profiles that can be read when scanned too.
An ID will also instantly communicate to whoever finds your dog that this is someone’s pet and not a stray, and the search for their home can begin immediately. If your pet has lost their collar, a scanned microchip can start that journey too. But if your dog is without any ID, they may be considered a stray and end up in an animal shelter where it’s estimated that an average of 9.5 million homeless pets are euthanized every year.
Some dogs are stolen. It’s unimaginable, but dognapping is a harsh reality that no one wants to think about until it happens to them. An estimated 1 million dogs are taken each year for a number of reasons. The dognapper may want to profit from selling a pedigree or pupular breed like a French Bulldog to new owners, for illegal puppy mill breeding, or to scientific research, or they may even want to collect a reward from the owner. Fighting breeds may be taken for illegal dog fights, and weak dogs are often used as bait.
Dogs can be taken from anywhere, from a locked car in a parking lot to their own backyards. Putting a solid collar with a current ID tag on your dog can help you identify them if you catch the dognapping in action or if you find your dog, and need to prove their identity to the police. Having your pet microchipped in these cases is invaluable, as most dognappers will remove their ID tags. Stolen dogs are often scanned for a microchip when taken to the veterinarian, dropped off at an animal shelter, or even during police raids for illegal fights or breeding operations.
When Titus, a German Short-Haired Pointer, was taken from his owner’s car in Massachusetts earlier this year, a local news crew spotted a man walking him when they were filming on location. Luckily for Titus’s family, he was still sporting his ID tag with his parents’ phone number on it, proving who he really belonged to. And a microchip was what brought Ailani back home after her house in California was burglarized and she was taken. After 4 ½ years, someone spotted the English Bulldog and had her scanned for a microchip which helped her reunite with her family in Fresno.
Our dogs give us so much, and we owe it to them to keep them as safe as we can, which means protecting them in case tragedy strikes. Today, show your furry bestie how much they mean to you by making sure they have an up to date ID on them so they can always find their way back to you.