An effective method of pet identification, called electronic pet identification or microchipping, is rapidly gaining popularity. It involves the injection of a small identification chip, about the size of a grain of rice, under the skin of your pet’s upper back. Humane societies, municipal animal control offices, and most veterinary clinics have scanners, much like bar code readers used in retail stores, that can be passed over the animal and read the number on the implanted microchip. Owner identification is quickly made by accessing a central computer data bank. Recently, many municipalities have moved to incorporate microchipping into their licensing program, often offering savings over the more conventional tag approach, especially if your pet is also neutered. This method avoids all of the pitfalls associated with the other identification methods. There is one disadvantage, however – the microchip is not visible so a scanner must be used to identify the pet. To overcome this, most microchip manufacturers provide the pet owner with a tag that lets the individual finding your pet know that the animal has a microchip.
Dog or Cat Tags
A simple method of pet identification is the dog/cat tag. This can be a municipal license, a rabies tag, or a personalized tag. The strengths are that this method is relatively inexpensive and is quick and easy to implement. However, since tags are attached to your pet’s collar, they are often lost or can be easily removed giving no permanent means of identification. Also, with municipal or rabies tags, the specific owner must be retrieved through city hall or the veterinary clinic involved and this may not be possible for hours or even days, preventing a quick owner/pet reunion. Another concern is that this information is regional and may, therefore, not be easy to access if your pet is lost away from home. This may be avoided, to some degree, by personalized tags.
A third method of pet identification is by means of a tattoo applied either to the inside of your pet’s ear flap or on the inner thigh region. This method’s strength lies in the fact that it is a permanent means of identification. Weaknesses include first, that tattooing is a moderately painful procedure that necessitates an anesthetic to perform. Secondly, tattoos often become faded or distorted with age, making them illegible. Finally, the same potential delay in information retrieval exists as with tags.