Microchipping your pet is one of the most effective ways of tracing them should they go missing, but there are other methods you can employ. The more protection your pet has, the more chance you have of being reunited with them.
The Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that every dog in a public place must wear a collar engraved with the name and address of the owner, or an ID tag containing this information must be attached to it. Your telephone number is not required, but is something to consider because it is an easy way for someone who finds your pet to contact you. Buying a collar and ID tag is one of the first things you should do when acquiring a dog, but cats can also benefit.
Photographs of your pet with emphasis on any unique markings they have will make them easier to identify. Also note any distinguishing features such as scarring or a lost tooth, and photograph those as well. You need to be able to provide an extremely detailed description of your pet if they go missing, and anything that makes them stand out will help.
Another way of identifying your pet is via DNA profiling. This is harmless, painless and cannot be tampered with, and only one sample of DNA is needed to identify your pet throughout its entire life. However, the time it takes to receive results means that you can’t immediately know whether the pet being tested is yours. For this reason, it may be best to rely on another method of identification in addition to this one.
A tattoo is an alternative method of identification. It is a permanent code on the dog’s skin, and the owner’s details are stored on a database. The procedure can be carried out on puppies from six weeks old, and it doesn’t hurt the pet. Tattoos are commonly administered on the ear or the rear inside thigh, where hair is often thinner. However, there are issues concerning the reliability of this method. A tattoo can fade in time, making the information difficult or impossible to interpret.
There have been many apps developed for the purpose of being able to locate a lost pet. A GPS tracking device can be attached to your pet’s collar, and you can use the app to locate them. However, this only works if your pet is wearing the device at all times, which can fall off, get damaged or be removed.
Decrease the chance of your pet escaping by making your garden and home as secure as possible. Always ensure any gates are shut and locked before letting your pet outside, and it may also be worth installing a self-closing system on your gates for forgetful family members. Check for any holes or loose boards in fencing, whilst making sure it is high enough that your pet can’t jump over it. Some pets will dig underneath, but placing obstacles in the way can help to prevent this.
In case your pet does get lost, keep all of their important documents safe and at hand to aid in their identification. This includes your proof of ownership, vet bills, receipts and vaccination records. It may also be a good idea to keep a clipping of your pet’s fur as a DNA sample.
Insuring your pet is another way to protect them. Animal Friends offer a range of policies for you to choose from.