COLUMBUS, OHIO — MARCH 28, 2011 — Anyone who has lost a pet knows that responsible pet ownership requires more than food, water and shelter. As part of American Humane Association’s annual Every Day is Tag Day on April 2, the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) encourages pet owners this week to outfit their animals with an updated ID tag and microchip.
Even the most well-behaved dog or a strictly indoor cat could be at risk of slipping through an open door, clawing through window screens or climbing over a backyard fence. While we hope these pets return to their homes, there is a very real probability that the longer they wander unidentified, the more likely they will become a statistic. As many as 8 million dogs and cats across the United States enter animal shelters each year, and only a small fraction of lost pets are reunited with their owners: less than 2 percent of cats and 15 to 30 percent of dogs.
Ensuring your pet has proper identification can determine whether or not your lost pet is returned home safely. The OVMA recommends keeping your pets properly tagged by:
- Making sure your pet wears a collar and ID tag at all times.
- Including your name, your pet’s name, and your phone number and address on the ID tag.
- Implanting a microchip. It is an inexpensive and effective means of identification in the event your pet’s collar comes off. A microchip is a small electronic chip enclosed in a tiny glass cylinder that is placed under the skin. This chip contains your pet’s identification number, which is used to look up your contact information in the microchip registry database. If your pet is lost, the chip can be activated by a scanner, common in veterinary clinics and animal shelters.
- Making sure your pet’s microchip is registered (most are registered at the time of implantation) and updating the information it contains every time you move or change your phone number.
Help the OVMA celebrate Every Day is Tag Day this week by taking steps to ensure your pet’s safety. Updating you pet’s ID tags and microchip information now may bring him home later!