I’ve declared January 1 National Pet ID Day! It’s not very official but it certainly should be. Even batteries (in your smoke alarms) get a day so why not something equally important like having an ID on your pets in case they get lost? You can’t overdo protection especially when the thing you love has legs and can easily slip away. So, every January 1 it’s a good idea to do an inventory and check on four important items.
Collars – all dogs and cats should wear a collar, 100 percent of the time! Consider it their bling and a clear sign that they are owned and loved. It’s been shown that people are more apt to assist an animal, especially a cat, wearing a collar as it makes them stand out from the many feral out there that people tend to ignore. At least once a year the collars should be checked to make sure they are still in good shape and the clasps are strong.
ID Tags – the real purpose of a collar, besides being something to fasten a leash to, is to attach ID tags and licenses. This is the useful part! If your pet becomes lost, anyone finding him can quickly and easily contact you and return your pet home. These days more people are reluctant to put an address on the tag but a cell phone, or better yet two, are quite adequate to help people get a hold of you or a friend. But the print on tags often wear off so it’s important to inspect them at least annually to make sure the info is current and legible. Rohnert Park requires licenses for both dogs and cats and that not only serves as a back-up ID, but it also shows that your pet is current on her rabies vaccinations.
Microchips – if collars and tags are the visible form of ID and, like a seatbelt, act as your first line of defense in case a pet goes missing, then microchips are like airbags and serve as the invisible back-up protection. Since tags can fall off and collars (amazing how many stray animals we get in at the shelter who have “just had baths” and hence no collars) can easily be removed, a microchip, hidden in the body can be a life-saving device and definitive proof of ownership. It only takes a few minutes to inject a chip, it’s no bigger deal than a vaccination!
Update info – Having a collar, tag and microchip is one thing but they are only as good as the information they contain. There’s nothing more frustrating than scanning a stray and finding a chip only to find out that the phone numbers are disconnected or the chip was never registered. It’s easy to forget to update your pet’s information when you move with all the other details that need to be attended so make New Year’s Day a reminder to double check that everything is current. If you are planning a move this year add this to your to-do list so it’s not forgotten! Call us at the shelter if you need help knowing who to contact to update your info.
We offer our residents free personalized ID tags and microchips so it’s easy for you to protect your pets. Call us at 584-1582 for a microchip appointment or for a tag. Consider it our holiday present to you!
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at email@example.com.