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Identification for pets

At the Munster Lost and Found Pet Helpline, we know that losing your pet does not mean you are an irresponsible owner. Accidents can happen, and dogs especially can sometimes go missing in the blink of an eye. Whilst we can’t prevent these things happening no matter how careful we are, we can take some simple steps to assist a speedy return.

  1.  Ensure your pet wears a comfortable, secure collar
  2. Your pet should always wear an identity disc with your phone number
  3.  Get your pet microchipped
  4. Always have a recent photo available
  5. Ensure you can be contacted while abroad

1. Collar

All dogs should have a comfortable, secure collar. It shouldn’t be too loose fitting, but you should be able to easily fit two fingers under. Keeping the collar too loose means your pet could slip out of it, or it could slip over their heads while they run undergrowth. However, you should always check your dog’s collar to ensure that it is not too tight, especially younger dogs, as they will grow and the collar could become embedded. If you remove it to wash or groom, please put it back on straight away – it only takes a second for the opportunist dog to escape out the door after its bath!

2. Identity Discs

Under the Control of Dogs Act it is a legal requirement to have an identity tag attached securely to your dog’s collar. Whilst legislation suggests you have your name and address, we realize many are uncomfortable with this; at the very least you should have your phone number inscribed. When you are getting the tag inscribed it’s a very good idea to get a second one made up, so that you can replace it immediately in the event your dog manages to lose his. Another idea to consider – depending on the amount of information you can get inscribed – is to state if it’s neutered (especially for female dogs in the event of theft), or if it’s on life-saving medication like insulin or heart medication. In this case, a simple “on medication” will suffice. You can also state that the animal is microchipped; alternatively, separate tags should be available at your vet which are specifically for this. If you change your phone number make sure you get new tags inscribed.

An identity disc is the simplest way for your pet to find his way home – you’re only ever a phone call away. Always ensure your pet is wearing his!

3. Microchip

Microchipping is a practise we strongly endorse – your veterinary surgeon can implant a tiny microchip about the size of a grain of rice which is unique to your pet. The microchip is then registered with your contact details, and if your lost pet is scanned for a microchip, your contact details can be immediately retrieved. Just make sure you register all your details – name, address and two contact phone numbers. If any of your information changes then make sure you change the chip details. If you buy a puppy that has a microchip, ensure that you immediately re-register the chip with your details. The breeder will give you the chip details and the staff at your veterinary practice will help you through the procedure.

4. Photographs

Whilst we all have many photos of our dogs and cats, it’s always a good idea to have one good photo at hand. It should show a good clear picture of the animal and any distinguishing marks. Photos are far more productive than a description in words. It will be invaluable to have at hand in the event that you need to make up posters or post on the internet.

5. On Holidays

If you are travelling, it’s a good idea to ensure you have a tag on your pet that has a number you can be contacted on while you are abroad.

Dog of the Week

Jackson is a seven month old male Labrador X. He was injured very badly in a road traffic accident, but with his own determination as well as lots of loving care, he has since made a full recovery. He was an excellent boy while recovering from his accident; wagging his tail caused him pain, but he still did it to say thank you, poor little guy!

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