How Your Pet’s Microchip and Identification Tags Work Together

Your dog may be well trained, but they can still end up loose or lost. The identification on their collar can get them back home quickly from around the neighbourhood, but only if they’re still wearing it. Plus, what if they get lost further afield, or the information isn’t up-to-date? Here’s why it’s a good idea to cover all your bases when it comes to your dog’s ID.

Any pet owner will want to maximize their chances of being reunited with their dog, should they somehow get lost. Unfortunately, updating the information on your pet’s microchip and tags is one of those tasks that can be easily overlooked right after a move. Some pet owners might also put a little too much faith in just one form of ID. There are several reasons it’s important to have more than one tool at the ready to help you!

What can go wrong with their tags?

If your pup discovers the gate is open and goes for a tour around the block, their ID tags are definitely the fastest way for a neighbour to get your dog home to you. Relying on a microchip alone requires your dog to be transported to a facility with a chip reader, which might also mean waiting for business hours. Tags are ideal for a fast local return.

There are also scanable tags, and products like AirTags that bring technology into the mix, to make the process even simpler for you and the finder.

That said, there are all sorts of reasons your dog might not be wearing their tags when they are found by a stranger. Collars can break and loops can bend if they get stuck on something, or your pup may not even have been wearing them in the first place. Sadly, collars and tags can also be removed by someone who doesn’t intend to return your dog to you.

Microchipping is worth it, but not fail-safe

Microchipping is a simple process that can mean the difference between losing a pet for a little while, and losing one forever. It has become much more common among pet owners, with many opting to have their pet chipped at the time they are spayed or neutered.

People who vacation with their dogs can immediately see the value of permanent ID that provides their mobile contact info. The chip can also be crucial if your dog is missing for a long time, or if you get separated during an emergency, like an extreme weather event.

Most animal shelters and veterinarians have equipment which can scan your pet for a microchip. Unfortunately, it is not yet a standard part of all initial vet visits. There is also a chance that the person who finds your dog won’t think to take them to a vet or a shelter to be scanned.

Choose both forms of ID, but don’t rely on their ID alone

Of course, if your dog does go missing you’ll want to get out there and search for them. You can also:

  • Ask neighbours to check their backyards, and keep watch for them.
  • Contact your microchip company and notify them that your pet is missing. They can list them on a “lost pet database” so anyone who scans them will know that they are lost.
  • Get on social media, and spread the word. Local groups often help track and return lost pets, and posting photos there will help people recognise them.
  • Contact your local animal control, animal shelters, and veterinary clinics. There’s a good chance they will have seen or heard reports if your pet was seen wandering in the area.

We hope you never go through the worry of a lost pet, but it’s best to be prepared, just in case! And remember that your dog’s ID will only work if the contact info is up-to-date.