Now that we’re all use to spending more time with our pets, limiting the risk of an unsupervised pet separation and ensuring their return is even more vital today. This month we focus upon the importance of pet identification, microchipping and pet tracking.

 

Pet Identification
Beyond having your pet’s name on an identification tag (often required by local law along with any required vaccinations), it’s vital that you include your name and telephone number. If you only have space for one, please include your current cellphone number. And because tags can fall off or get lost, we strongly suggest investing in a collar with your pet’s name and your cellphone number woven directly into the collar itself.

 

Pet Identification
 

While we are big fans of the personalized pet  collars from LL Bean, there are many similar manufacturers that offer durable, high quality collars, too. What’s important is that your pet’s name and your telephone number are large enough so they can be viewed from a distance, enabling anyone to approach cautiously, view your number and call you without having to approach or “capture” your pet.

When ordering any collar, be sure it fits snugly around their neck — but not too tightly. Ensure you can fit two fingers between their neck and the collar. Pets have a remarkable ability to walk backwards while shaking their head on their way to freedom, which is why you should consider additional identification methods — such as microchipping.

 

Microchipping
If your pet wanders off without any external identification, it’s important that you have your pet microchipped. A microchip is a small, inert RF (radio frequency) tag that is inserted beneath your pet’s skin, typically near the shoulder blades. The microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice, uses no power, has no battery, nor transmits your pet’s location. However, the microchip technology will respond with a pre-programmed identifier when a chip-reading wand is moved over the microchip. This identifier is used in conjunction with an online database to locate the pet owner’s information. Most veterinarians, pet shelters and rescues will automatically scan a pet searching for a microchip as the first activity to help reunite a lost pet and their owner.

 

Microchip Wanding
 

The insertion of the microchip is painless, equivalent to an injection. However, the benefits last a lifetime so we recommend microchipping all kittens, cats, puppies and dogs early — ideally around the 6-month mark. Depending upon the manufacturer who may charge a one-time or annual fee, you can enter varied information (such as the pet’s name, veterinarian, your cell phone, home phone, home address, etc.) and review/update your information online periodically — particularly when you move or change telephone numbers.

For your own peace of mind and to speed reunions, we strongly suggest that every pet be microchipped.

 

Pet Tracking
If your pet seems to periodically enjoy the neighborhood without you, you might want to consider a GPS tracking device. Approximately the size and weight of five stacked quarters, the rechargeable device securely attaches to your pet’s collar. Today’s GPS devices provide near real-time location of your pet with remarkable precision.

 

GPS Pet Tracking
 

Many models also use your home WiFi to help track and report your pet’s location, motion and daily activity levels. What’s most important is that owners can define geographic boundaries, and when your pet passes through them you’ll receive a real-time email or text alert, indicating your pet has strayed. Then you can locate your pet using a corresponding mobile phone app as you follow their whereabouts and ultimately find them.

 

Social Media
If your pet is lost, don’t forget to harness the power of social media to help find them. Post a current picture of your pet, the last known location, their name and your contact information. We’d suggest using Facebook and NextDoor for your postings. As an added incentive, consider offering a modest reward for those who help locate and reunite you with your pet. Also, don’t forget to call the local shelters in the event your pet arrives at one of these facilities.

To help reduce the stress of separation, include your contact information on your pet’s id tag, ensure your pet is microchipped and consider a GPS tracking device.

 

Contact Us
If you have any questions, please contact us. We are happy to discuss the above approaches to keeping your pets safe.

 

Kirkwood Animal Hospital Staff