When you pass another dog on your walk, or see a cat crossing the road, they are wearing a collar or harness with ID attached, right? If you saw that same pet lounging around on the couch, chances are they might be naked, or sans ID. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recently found that only 33 percent of pet parents said they keep ID tags on their dogs and cats at all times.
That means, at one point or another, the majority of pets aren’t wearing the identification info that ensures they stay safe and home for life.
Let’s start with why your pet needs to wear an ID tag at all. The statistics say it all:
- According to American Humane association, it’s estimated that over 10 million cats and dogs are lost or stolen EVERY YEAR, and
- 1 in 3 pets will go missing in their life time, and
- The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) did a study with shelters that showed that only 22% of dogs and less than 2% of cats make it home once they enter an animal shelter,
- But over 90% of the pets that DO make it home…are reunited with their families because of ID tags, microchips or other identification means like tattoos.
So knowing that those pets with ID tags are MUCH more likely to get back home to you, why would you not always have an ID tag on your pet?
Here at PetHub, we’ve heard ALL the arguments against wearing an ID tag or even having your pet wear a collar:
“She doesn’t need a tag because my dog is always by my side.” “Kitty never leaves the house, so why should I bother with a collar and tag.” “The collar could just fall off, so why bother? “He’s never run away before.” “Everyone in the neighborhood knows my dog, so an ID tag is a waste of money.”
Unfortunately it's often everyday situations that can lead to a pet not being where they should be:
- The “blankety-blank” repair guy left the side gate open and you don’t know before you let Rex out to play OR;
- A snowstorm leaves a huge bank on the side of the fence and Spot decided to check out what’s happening over the fence OR;
- A ninja squirrel darts out of the bushes just as you open the front door – we all know ninja squirrels are sneaky and unpredictable like that - OR;
- You go on vacation and your pet doesn’t join you. (Fluffy might stick to you like glue, but is it the same situation with your pet sitter?) OR;
- You get sick, injured, incapacitated and are no longer able to care for your pet OR;
- A natural disaster hits (say, a tornado), or there is a house fire in the middle of the night, and your freaked-out pet escapes through an open door or a new hole in the wall OR;
- …you get the idea.
Of course, we’ve also heard this one: “My dog’s hates wearing a collar, so I just got a microchip for her.” Super-duper awesome that you got your pet microchipped! Microchips are an important safety-net for getting lost animals home. That same study from AVMA that the return rate for pets with microchips was 38-52% when they were in a shelter – BUT:
- Only 58% of microchips are registered and/or up to date and;
- Microchips can only be detected by special scanners – your pet will have to be taken to a vet clinic or a shelter to do that and;
- Microchips can “migrate” in the body and are not always easy to detect (especially if the tech doing the scan is not thorough) and;
- Not all microchips are created equally. There are multiple frequencies of chips out there and not all facilities have universal scanners that can read all chips.
Bottom line – your pet NEEDS to not be naked. They should have a physical ID tag, like a PetHub Digital ID Tag, on at all times. It shows they have a home and a family that is out there looking for them when they are away from home. And, if that tag is on them…they can get home without ever putting a paw into a shelter.
Originally Published: April 2016
Updated: June 2022