Unfortunately, pets get lost on a daily basis. Microchipping your pet is the easiest and most likely way to ensure he will be returned to you. While identification via a tag on your pet’s collar is great, most pets get lost due to an ill-fitting collar. According to a study by the ASPCA; 50% of dogs and 75% of cats are not wearing a collar when they are found and brought into a shelter. Other means of permanent identification would be a tattoo, these are usually done inside the ear or inside of a hind leg. This allows for easy identification without specialized equipment.
Microchipping is a safe and easy way for your pet to be identified if it ever gets lost. Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are injected with a needle under your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. They are encased in biocompatible material and have an anti-migration cap to help prevent movement in the pet’s body. Once a microchip is registered that information will remain attached to that chip. If you ever move or change your contact information it will be important to update your microchip information. According to Home Again Microchips, only 10% of microchips are actually registered after they are implanted. Remember it doesn’t do you any good to microchip your pet if you don’t register the chip!
Another great way to ensure your dog is safe and by your side when outdoors is to make sure you have a properly fitted collar and leash. Collars should fit snugly, you should be able to get two fingers under the collar comfortably, but not be able to pull it over your dogs head. We also don’t recommend walking your dog with a flexi-lead. While these allow great freedom if you are out playing ball, for most walks they allow your dog to get too far from you. It’s not uncommon for a dog to take off after something (a squirrel or another dog) and when they hit the end of the flexi-lead it is yanked from the owner’s hand. A short 6-10’ nylon leash with a handle is preferred because it will be harder for your dog to get away from you.
The last defense you have to prevent your dog from getting away from you is good obedience. Even a well-trained dog could be tempted not to listen if they are hot on the heels of an elusive squirrel. You should practice having your dog come, stay, and sit in all types of situations while they are on a leash and safe. If your dog will listen to you during the most hectic situations, he will most likely listen to you in an emergency situation. It’s not enough for your dog to come and stay in a quiet home environment. It’s important to practice these skills in all types of situations; it will also increase your dog’s confidence in himself and your bond together as a team.
The best defense against your dog getting lost is to prevent it from happening. Practice safe walking technique and good obedience. But always be prepared just in case with clear ID tags and a registered, current microchip.