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Dog Identification: Tags Versus Microchips

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0
dog tracking chip

One of the worse feeling you can have is the anxiety you experience when you lose your dog. Having proper identification for your dog can help it become returned to you safely. If your dog has no identification, there is a 90% chance that it will never be returned to you.

In ye olden days, when your pet became lost you would go door to door asking your neighbors if they have seen them and paste up posters on every telephone pole from your neighborhood to Timbuktu. This is still a good strategy. the classics, as they say, never die.

Things have advanced a little since then and have made your dog a little easier to locate. So save yourself the trouble and invest in one.


Getting tags for your dogs collar is the simplest method of dog identification. These tags will have your name, your address, and your phone number. If your dog is wearing its collar when it wanders off, someone can find them and easily return them.

Benefits of Tagging

When you register your pet, they are put in the animal control database (some will consider this a disadvantage too)

Pet tags are the cheapest form of dog identification

Disadvantages of Tagging

Pet tags look fairly durable, but they can fall off

If you do not keep your pet registration updated, animal control my not give you back your pet.



If you want a more durable option to dog tags, this is the way to go. A microchip is something injected into the dogs' skin that has all your information on it. The vet places the the microchip into a syringe and inject it into the dogs shoulder. This is done while the dog is still conscious, the chip is about the size of a grain of rice so your dog should not even notice.

If you find a lost dog and it has no collar on, you should always take it to the vet before you decide what to do with it. Almost all vets have scanners that will pick up the low radio frequencies that it puts out. This scanner reads the information, and you can return the dog you found or others can return your dog to you.

This is not failsafe, however, not all scanners are compatible with all microchips. It is just another reason to make sure your dog always wears their collar and tags.

When chipping your dog, you should call your vet to find a chip that is compatible with their scanner, they will always be very accommodating about that. though most vets have a universal scanner, but some do not.

Benefits of Microchips

Quick insertion with virtually no pain.

Microchips are sturdy enough to last for 25 years, most dogs will not live that long

Microchips are a good backup for when the collar falls off.

Disadvantages of Microchips

Microchips are not immune to falling off. They can fall out of the skin.

Some scanners and chips are not always compatible

Microchips do not have GPS, so you cannot track pets with them.

GPS Pet Tracking

This is a great option if you have a dog like a beagle that likes to wander off. This is the least durable option of all the pet identifications. A GPS tracking device is placed on the collar and it is about as long as a business card.

This device can be called or texted and it will show your your dogs location. High tech ones will even give you directions like a GPS device in a car.

Benefits of GPS Tracking

You can locate your pet anywhere, anytime.

Directs you in real time so you can be on the move when your pet is

No insertion needed into the skin

Disadvantage of GPS Tracking

They are the most expensive option and can often require a monthly fee

Not as effective in areas where you do not get good cellphone coverage

they can fall off the dog collar, rendering them useless.

Who To Contact

When looking for a lost dog and you do not have a GPS device installed or it has stopped working for whatever reason, you should know who to contact. If it has only been a little while gather all your household that is old enough to walk around and have them fan out.

Have them check places that you frequently take your dogs. This includes parks, hiking trails, houses with other dogs, and restaurants with aromatic smells. Before you set out looking for your pet, make sure to let your neighbors know that your dog is lost and ask them to keep their eyes peeled. A lot of times your dog will find its way home on its own, especially at dinner time, so you may want to leave someone at your house.

If it has been over a day and they have not been found or returned, call local animal control centers and leave a description of your dog, especially if it has no tags or a microchip.

Do beware if you have not registered you pet with local animal control, they can get quite pissy about that. If they find the dog first, they may be hesitant to return them to you. They will really be hesitant to return your dog if it is behind on its shots and vaccinations. So try to find your dog first if that is the case.

After a week, it is more than likely someone will have picked up your dog. If your dog has no way of being identified, it might just be time to give up. Hopefully the person that has picked them up will be a good home for them. Though do make sure to give a few calls to animal control for about a month. Sometimes a person who finds a stray will ask around looking for people who have lost a dog and take them to their vet to scan them for a chip before they decide to give them to animal control.



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