The scariest news a pet owner can hear is that their dog or cat is lost. Whether a yard gate was left open, or a door to the house wasn’t pulled tightly closed, the news of a missing pet is devastating.

Research shows that 1 in 3 pets will become lost in their lifetime and fewer than 2% of lost cats and 15% of lost dogs ever find their way home. 40% of lost cats are considered “indoor only” and slip out of the house when no one is noticing. Some lost pets do make it back home and ID on your dog or cat is the best way to increase your chances of that happening. According to a study by Ohio State University, micro-chipped cats were 20 times more likely and micro-chipped dogs 2.5 times more likely to be returned to their owners.   

Your pet should wear ID most times of the day. An exception to this is when your pet is in a kennel, as the tag can get caught. Dodge this risk by removing your pet’s collar when they enter their kennel. For cat owners, make sure your kitty is wearing a break free collar. The collar with ID is important if your cat gets lost, yet it must be balanced with safety in case kitty gets caught in a tree or other outdoor hazards.

When you bring home a new pet, prepare ahead of time by purchasing proper identification and put it on the new family member before getting in the car to drive home.  Coming to a new household is a particularly vulnerable time for any new pet. Unfamiliar people and situations can be stressful for a pet. You and your family haven’t established a relationship with a new dog or a cat. They don’t know to come when you call them. If they get out of your yard they are not familiar with the new neighborhood. Don’t wait to get ID; have it before your new pet comes home.

Years ago, ID tags were limited to an engraved metal tag that dangled from your dog’s collar and jingled every time your pet moved. Today, the sky is the limit with pet identification designs. Your ID options range from simple to high-tech, and from dirt-cheap to high-dollar.Unfortunately, nothing is fool proof. Tags can fall off, or they can become worn and hard to read. Collars can be removed. Chips and tattoos can be overlooked. Still, there’s an identification system to meet the needs and preferences of every person and every pet. The wisest people invest in more than one, so they have backup systems if one fails. When used in combination, microchips and ID tags are the best solution for keeping your pet safe. Use the opportunity to reflect your pet’s personality with whimsical tags, embroidered collars, harnesses and leashes.

In addition to proper identification on your pet, make sure you have good clear photos of them. A head shot face on, a profile head shot, and a full body photo can all help identify your furry friend should he get lost. You can also use these photos on flyers to post in the neighborhood and to share with online missing pet portals in the event your pet goes missing.