Pet ID: Why Tags and Microchips Are Essential for Your Pups

cropped view of veterinarian holding syringe for microchipping beagle dog

Nothing could break a pawrent’s heart more than the thought of losing their pup, yet according to an ASPCA study, only a third of pet owners tag their fur babies. While it may seem like your pup would never run away, the unexpected can happen, and without these tools, they could be lost for a long time.

National Pet ID Week is promoted by veterinarians and shelters across the country to educate and ensure pet owners are prepared for lost animals. BYOD supports the movement to ensure happy dogs stay in happy places.

Tags are a simple and easy way to prepare in case your dog gets lost. If you find a dog wearing their tag, you can immediately see their name and their owner’s contact information, even address sometimes. An ID tag is the quickest way for you and your pup to reunite in the case of an emergency.

One downside to tag is the metal plates could easily get lost if you transfer them between multiple collars. This can easily be fixed by picking up multiple tags; pick up one with each new collar or have some spare ones in case they get lost or damaged. There are also collars that you can personalize with your dog’s name and your phone number on them.

If your dog has a collar and a tag, they are more likely to get help. The sad truth is more people are willing to help a stray that looks like a family pet with a collar and tag. Without it, people may assume the dog is homeless and hesitate to approach.

Microchipping your dog is also an important step to preventing them from being lost forever. The chips are popular among pet owners since their information is stored in a database that a vet or shelter can scan. Microchips are also reliable because the process involves a small injection that won’t get lost and are made to last 25 years or more.

Also, to read the microchip, your dog’s handler will have to take them to a vet clinic or an animal shelter, and not every chip uses the same radio frequency to scan. It is a matter to look into before chipping your dog.

That being said, microchips are still fairly inexpensive, and a lot of shelters offer discounts. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a wonderful resource for frequently asked questions on microchips.


A new trend in pet identification tools is a high-tech GPS collar. These collars can geo-locate your dog after they become lost, so it gives pet owners the power to start finding their dog without relying on other people.

As some can imagine, this tech collar comes with a big price tag, and not only are there sometimes set-up charges, the technology usually requires a monthly subscription to use the GPS service. It is a cost-heavy solution to be prepared, but for some owners, it’s worth it.

A GPS collar is a reliable and accurate way to reunite with a lost pet. Our fellow dog lovers at Chewy have some information on some products to look into if you’re interested.

BYOD has a couple more tips to keep in mind if your pet gets lost:

  • Start searching immediately. You have a better chance of reuniting if you go on the lookout, make flyers, tell your neighbors, and alert local shelters.
  • If you have a microchip, make sure it is updated with your annual visits to the vet.
  • If you have a tag, check on it at least once a year to make sure it’s readable and up-to-date.

Another note: BYOD does not condone the practice of tattooing identification into a pet. Tattoos can be hazardous to a dog’s health and is a painful procedure; it also can be rendered useless by fur growing back. 

The unexpected can happen to anyone. Your dog doesn’t even have to run away to get lost; natural disasters or accidents can cause separation. Take steps to ensure your family will stay together.

What’s your pet’s identification? Tag, microchip, or a high-tech collar?

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