Being a mother to multiple animals, it's my job to keep my pets healthy, happy, and most importantly, safe. My animals are not just pets, they are part of the family. So how do I as a pet owner ensure my pet will be safe if they get lost, sneak out of the backyard, etc?
Before we talk about what one should or shouldn't put on their pet's ID Tag, I'll briefly note the first way in which I protect my pets. My first line of defense is something that can't be easily removed from my pet, as a collar, ID Tag, or harness. So what is it? A microchip! An pet microchip is a small permanent form of electronic identification that's implanted under the subcutaneous (Sub-Q) part of a pets skin that has a unique serial number that can be detected by using some form of a microchip scanner at a veterinarian's office.
Sounds fun right? Well, everything is fun until the moment you realize a part of your family is missing, then the panic and anxiety set in..
So how does one take additional measures in keeping their pets safe?
A Pet ID Tag!
There are numerous benefits of having a Pet ID Tag. First, the human gets to proudly show off their pet and their fabulous name chosen by the human. More importantly, if a pet gets lost, an ID Tag can help identify who the pet is, who their human is, licensing, and vaccinations.
Two questions that seem to be swirling in the debate pool regarding Pet ID Tags are:
1. What Personal Info Should I Put on My Pet's ID Tag?
2. Should I use the Word "Reward" on My Pet's ID Tag?
One should always put some form of contact information on your pet ID Tag. I would suggest a telephone number that you always have access to. What about the humans home or work address? Personally, I don't put my address on my pets ID tags for privacy and security reasons (I don't want bad people knowing where my pets and I reside.) Personally, I have 2 contact numbers on an ID Tag (my contact info and a relative or dear friends contact info)..Why two contact numbers, not one? Well, this once happened to me, so I learned through trial and error (luckily my pup Emmy was found safe and returned to her momma-thanks to the microchip!) In this instance, my telephone number digits were worn (scratched) and the person who found my dog couldn't read the number, meaning no way of getting a hold of me.. Ahh.. Enough of the two number thing and on to the next!
An email address is a great option to put on a PED ID Tag, however, if time is of the essence (which is likely will be if your pet is lost) e-mailing isn't always the fastest form of contact.
Using the words "I'm micro-chipped" or "Needs Daily Medication" on your pets ID Tag is another excellent way of informing the person who found your animal that: a) they likely have an owner because they are chipped; and b) find the true owner quickly because this animal requires daily medical care..
What about putting your pets name on their ID Tag? Personally, I NEVER put my dogs name on the ID Tag. Why you ask? Although most people have good intentions, there are miscreants in the world and not every stranger is a friend to your furry family member. With a pets name on the ID Tag, a stranger with ill intentions may lure your dog closer by using its name. But again, this is entirely up to the pet owner (You.)
So the main things to include on your pets ID Tag are:
-Contact information such as numbers, emails, addresses, whatever you're comfortable sharing with strangers is the key here..
-Other identifying language such as "I'm micro-chipped" or "Needs Daily Medication" to help motivate or direct the pet finder in the right direction.
-Your pets name. Again, this is entirely up to what the owner feels is best for their animal and its safety.
Now, on to the next question.. Should a pet owner put the word "Reward" on their pets ID Tag?
There is a considerable amount of debate as to whether a pet owner should offer a reward for returning a pet to its rightful owner. Personally, I've always included the reward language on a pet's collar. Why? I want to encourage the person who found my animal to return them, even if it's going to cost me. The risk of never seeing my pet again heavily outweighs the financial burden it would cost me, let alone the emotional trauma of losing a furry family member. I never state the amount of the reward on the collar, as this could attract a person with nefarious intentions to behave badly, aka "pet napping." Here's the thing, no one wants to be vulnerable to criminals or scammers, so why put yourself in a position where you could potentially never seen your pet again right?
I met a woman a few years ago who imprinted the words "Needs Daily Medication" on her dogs collar. We started talking and I immediately asked her what medication her dog required on a daily basis. She told me her pup was healthy and that if a person found a dog and read "needs daily medication" this would deter criminals from trying to sell her prized dog (because a sick dog has little value) and motivate anyone who finds the animal. Pretty ingenious if you ask me!
Some do argue that offering a reward encourages both the good and the bad intentioned.. Why not just invite those criminals in, as they know you're offering a reward for a pet that hasn't been lost yet? Hmmm.. Can that happen? Yes. Has it happened to me? No, however, there is a possibility it can happen to me or anyone quite frankly. If its going to take the word "reward" imprinted on my pets ID Tag to get a bad person on the phone negotiating, I'll take my chances..
Ultimately, we as pet owners all know what is best for our pets and ourselves!
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President- CV PETS (Coachella Valley Pets.)