Pets Need ID: Collars, Tags, Microchips | Finding Lost Pets

Does your pet wear an ID tag? Is it microchipped? These two forms of identification could help you to be reunited with your pet should it become lost.

Collar and ID Tag

  • All pets should wear a collar and tag with your name, address and phone number on it.
  • Use "O" rings to attach tags to your pet's collar. They are less likely to come loose.
  • Update ID tags when you move.
  • When you travel, it's a good idea to put on a temporary tag on your pet.
  • Rabies and license tags (if required by your county) can also be helpful if your pet becomes lost. Be sure to let your veterinarian know if your contact information changes.

Microchip

  • A microchip is another form of identification that can be helpful if your pet becomes lost.
  • Discuss microchipping with your veterinarian. Microchipping has a greater chance of success in reuniting you with your lost pet if you keep your contact information up to date with the microchip provider and your veterinarian. Update your information when you move, change phone numbers and/or establish care with a new veterinarian.
  • In the event that your pet is injured while lost and is taken to a veterinary clinic or emergency hospital, a microchip will enable the veterinarian to contact you quickly. This is important if the veterinarian needs your approval to provide certain treatments to your pet and/or to make choices about the treatment your pet will receive.

Locating Lost or Stolen Pets

  • Check the neighborhood (or area where the pet became lost), as pets have been known to be found close to home even several days later.
  • Put up signs with your pet's photo and your phone number. It is recommended to use only your first name and not include your home phone number on the notice. A cell phone number is preferrable, as it cannot easily be traced to your home address via online searches.
  • If your pet is microchipped (and we recommend that it should be), contact your microchip registration company. Once notified, they may activate a lost pet recovery network and/or place your lost pet on a "hot sheet" or on their social media networks.
  • Contact your veterinarian. If your pet is wearing a collar with rabies tag (also recommended), the number can be traced to your veterinarian and then back to you if the pet is found or taken to a shelter.
  • Contact animal control, shelters and humane organizations in your area. If possible, visit them daily to see if your pet has been brought in.
  • Place a lost pet ad in your local newspaper and/or online, such as on Facebook or Craigslist. Several online resources are listed in the sidebar above, including a pet "Amber alert" system.
  • Check the paper and online sources daily for "found pet" ads as well as pet "for sale" ads. There has been an increase in people attempting to sell found or stolen pets on sites such as Craigslist.
    There has been an increase in people attempting to sell found or stolen pets on sites such as Craigslist. - See more at: https://oregonvma.org/care-health/fourth-july-safety#sthash.lYjadtw3.dpuf

If you have any concerns or questions about helping your animal stay calm and safe during the 4th of July holiday, please talk to your veterinarian.

Published: March 9, 2009;    Updated: April 21, 2014

Filed Under: Animal Care Health Basics, Safety, Travel, Cats, Dogs

Author: Oregon Veterinary Medical Association

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