The ABC’s of Pet Identification


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The ABC’s of Pet Identification

Do me a favor. Call your pup over, and give her a pat on the head. Now take a peek at her collar. Does it look sturdy and secure? What about her ID tag; can you easily read the phone number? Yeah? Great - give your pup an extra kiss for us!

You obviously understand the benefit of a good collar and external ID tag, but did you know there are just three more things you can do to be a total pet identification ninja? Let’s get started on your path to feeling confident about your pet’s identification tools.

Left Photo: Black and white dog smiling in back yard with tongue out. Center Photo: Two fluffy cats with harnesses and PetHub ID tags. Right Photo: Two German Shepards sitting outside with ID tags.

It’s A Four-Legged Stool

Here at PetHub, we compare pet identification to a four-legged stool. Would you feel safe sitting on a stool that only has two legs? One? Probably not, unless you’ve been practicing your balancing skills.

Like a sturdy stool, your pet’s identification should make you feel secure and comfortable, because the last thing you want to worry about if she gets out of the backyard is if the Good Samaritan who finds her has a way to contact you.

So, what are those “four legs”? Well you’ve come to the right place!

If your pup is still next to you, give her a quick belly rub and let’s dive in.

External Identification Tag

We’re not the only ones shouting from the rooftop about the positive impact external identification has when it comes to returning lost pets to their owners quickly. ASPCA studies show that ID tagging is an effective method to potentially decrease stray intake into shelters, and Michelson Found Animals reminds us that it can be as simple as getting a cheap collar and using a sharpie to write the info right on the collar!

Benefits of External Identification

  • External identification gives the Good Samaritan who finds your pet the information to contact you directly and can save your pet from a trip to the local humane society. A single phone number can help your pet get back to the safety of your home quickly.
  • Even if you have an “indoor” pet, disasters, accidents or any other unforeseen event can happen when you least expect it. Get a comfy collar and stylish ID tag so that your pet can rock their identification 24/7 like it’s a badge of honor… because if we’re being honest, it is totally that.
  • Consider getting a collar that really stands out, like these Blueberry Pet Collars. This will come in handy when you are describing your lost dog to the local humane society, on lost dog social media groups, lost pet posters, or any of the other strategies to help your pet find her way home.

A collar is a great way to quickly show that a loose pet has a home, but if there is no contact information attached to the collar it’s going to be really hard for the Good Samaritan to get a hold of you without taking your pet to a nearby shelter or veterinarian clinic.

So that is where a good ID tag comes in (or a personalized collar, like this one). A lot of the national brand pet stores have machines that allow you to create a custom ID tag with your pet’s name and the best way to contact you. But sometimes one phone number is not enough.

With PetHub’s digital ID tags, you can connect not only multiple phone numbers but multiple people to your pet’s tag with a free online pet profile. Our tags put the control in your hands because it is more than just a tag. PetHub tags come with the best lost pet prevention and recovery tools on the market today!

Right Photo: Brown Tabby cat outside with PetHub tag. Center Photo: Brown and white dog in woods with ID tags. Right Photo: Small white dog smiling at camera with ID tags on.

Internal Identification - Microchips

There is always the argument that a collar and/or ID tag can fall off of your pet. So then what? Well thanks for asking because that is why we compare pet identification to a four-legged stool! Microchips provide a great back-up identification option for pets, but collars with up-to-date tags are still often the quickest way to get your pet home.

So, how does a microchip work? We’re going to let the professionals tell you:

“A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the same size as a grain of rice. The microchip itself does not have a battery - it is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area, and the radio waves put out by the scanner activate the chip. The chip transmits the identification number to the scanner, which displays the number on the screen.” - American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Studies have shown that dogs that were microchipped return to their owner 52.2% of the time, whereas dogs without a microchip only had a return to owner rate of 21.9%. And get this, only 1.8% of cats without a microchip returned home, whereas cats with microchips went back home 38.5% of the time.

Alrighty! We are really setting ourselves up for making sure our pets have the best identification tools. But, there are a couple important things to remember when it comes to microchips:

  • The microchip is not a GPS device, meaning that it cannot track your pet.
  • Microchips can only be “read” by a scanner. While most veterinary clinics and shelters have access to these scanners (and will happily scan an animal that is missing), your pet can get home much quicker if you have that collar and ID tag on with your contact info.
  • Having the microchip placed in your pet is the first step. You must register it with the microchips manufacturer (think HomeAgain or 24 Pet Watch) and make sure you keep the information updated. This is the best way to improve your chances of your pet returning home.
  • It is very rare, but microchips can fail and become unable to be detected by a scanner. Sometimes the microchip can move in the body as well.

Michelson Found Animals has created the first free microchip registry. They accept all microchip brands and frequencies -- and most importantly it is free to register, free to use, and free to update.

Do you have more questions about microchips, we encourage you to check out AVMA’s Microchipping of Animals FAQ.

Local Registration & Licensing

Look at us go! We are moving through these “legs” like a dog chasing a squirrel in the backyard -- woof! Our next “leg” for pet identification is licensing your pet, but sadly, pet parents sometimes forget this one. What they fail to realize is licensing your pet is one of the best ways to prove ownership of your pet.

On a basic level, a pet license identifies and protects your dog or cat in case they get lost and depending on where you live a license can come with other perks like “Free Ride Home” programs.

Here are some more pros when it comes to licensing your pet:

  • In most communities it’s the law to license your pet and you can face a fine if you are caught without a license. Reach out to your local animal shelter to learn about the laws in your area.
  • Every license has an ID number, so your dog's license tag is another great way to provide contact information that leads back to you. PetHub works with over 800 communities to provide digital ID tags for pet licenses. Check with your local shelter to learn if your community is one of them!
  • The license cost is less than the fine. On average the annual cost to license your pet is $20, whereas the fine for not having a pet license can be up to $250.

Need more great reasons to license your pet? We’ve got you covered!

Left Photo: Cream colored dog giving a paw to the camera with a smile on his face. Center Photo: Black and brown Dachshund dog with pink leash and harness. Right Photo: Black and white Boxer dog relaxing.

“Extra Support” Identification Tools

The fourth leg of our pet identification stool is really just a bonus leg (because technically our stool would support us just fine with only three legs). We’ve got a few last tips when it comes to going the extra mile.

Hey, is your pup still around? She’s probably snoozing by now. That’s okay, no need to wake her. Just let her know when she wakes up that you are now a pet identification ninja and have all the tips and tricks to keep her protected. Now, go get some cuddle time with that pup!