The Importance of Identification
Posted April 24, 2014
While we do our very best to keep a close eye on Fido, he tends
to let curiosity get the best of him when engaging in an
unsupervised stroll around the neighborhood. When this
happens, you’ll be thankful that you just invested in that
slightly-overpriced-but-irresistibly-cute dog collar, personalized
ID tags, and microchip.
“ID tags can help with identification in case they get lost or
run away,” said Dr. Stacy Eckman, a lecturer at the Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “It lets
people know that the dog is owned and is very helpful when trying
to reunite the animal with the owner.”
In addition to decorating your pets with ID tags, microchips
have become an increasingly popular way to keep track of your pets
in the case they go missing.
“Unlike a tag or a collar, it cannot come off and is placed
under the skin with a small needle,” said Eckman. “It is not
painful to the pet and they will not notice it, and neither will
the owner in most instances.”
Many people have the misconception that microchips are a GPS
tracker and can locate a lost pet, but really, it just holds the
pet and owner information. “Once a pet is scanned, the
information can be looked up to try and reunite the owner and pet,”
said Eckman. “An important thing to keep in mind about microchips
is that the information has to be updated if you move—it is not
They are very beneficial because most shelters and facilities
scan for microchips when an animal comes in, which makes it much
easier to reunite an owner with their pet. However, it is important
to keep in mind that microchips do not replace the need for ID
tags, but merely supplement them.
“Some shelters do not have microchip scanners or the one they
have may not read your pet’s particular microchip (though there are
a handful of manufacturers on the market and the scanners are
getting better at picking up all the different kinds),” said
Eckman. “If a Good Samaritan finds your pet, having visible tags
will let them know it is owned.” This way, they can quickly contact
the owner without having to hassle with posting “found pet” signs
around the neighborhood, which some may find to be too much
Even if Fido and Fluffy spend their time indoors, having both ID
tags and microchips are recommended. “There are instances when they
can run out the door, slip through their leash or collar and get
away,” said Eckman. “Identification will help them find their way
home.” Both of these painless precautions can save you and your pet
a lot of heartache in the long run.
As important as our pets are to us, having them go missing is a
feeling we hope never to experience. By investing in both a
microchip and detailed ID tags, Fido has a much greater chance of
returning back from his sporadic squirrel-chase safe and sound.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.
Stories can be viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk. Suggestions for
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