Your Dog's ID

In addition to a collar and tags, should you also tattoo your dog or have a microchip implanted? Here's a look at the pros and cons of each identification method that can help if your dog is ever lost.
Collars and Tags

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Tags, tattoos, and
microchips can help
in recovering a lost pet.

Every dog should have a collar and tags. It is the simplest, easiest way to identify your dog.

A buckled collar is preferable to a choke chain for identification purposes, since dogs are more likely to slip out of a choke collar. The collar should be fastened securely so that it will not come off if grabbed. Dr. Duane Schnittker of the Brentwood Veterinary Hospital in Brentwood, California, offers this reminder: "Make sure the tags have current information. Usually, dogs are found within 3 or 4 blocks of their homes."

Types of Tags

There are three kinds of tags: rabies tags, dog-license tags, and personal-identification tags.

A rabies tag has a number, the year in which the shot was given, and the name and address of the veterinary office where the shot was administered. It is important to keep track of the year the shot was given because tag numbers are reused each year.

Dog-license tags tell where the dog was licensed and feature a license number. The license number can be reported to animal control in the county and state where the license was issued to obtain the owner's name, address, and phone number.

Personal-identification tags usually have the address of the owner on the tag. These are often available in cute shapes, like dog bones, fire hydrants, and so on. Sometimes a tag will have a kennel-license number and an individual dog-identification number. If you find a dog with a kennel tag, contact the appropriate county to find out which kennel was issued that license number.

Disadvantages of Tags

  • They are easily removed by unscrupulous people, like thieves, who can easily throw collar and tags away.

  • The printing on tags may wear off over time.

  • If the collar is not secure, the dog may slip out of it.

Continued on page 2:  Tattoos