A properly filled-out dog tag on a secure collar is the most effective -- and cost-effective -- means of helping your missing pooch get back home. As reported in a 2011 "Preventive Veterinary Medicine" study, only about one-third of pet owners keep an ID tag on their pets. Don't make the mistake of overconfidence; even the best-trained dogs can slip out of the house or yard, run off, get scared off or get lost for other reasons.
An identification tag greatly increases the chances that your dog will be returned to you should she go missing, provided it contains the information a stranger needs to get her back to you. Include your dog's name so whoever finds her can address her in a familiar way. Also include your address so someone can bring your pet back to you if he's so inclined. List at least one daytime and one nighttime phone number you can be reached at, too, so you can be contacted to pick your pet up. You could also include your email address. Make it as easy as possible for whomever finds your dog to get in touch with you to maximize the chances he'll reach you without any inconvenience.
Your dog can also be permanently identified with a microchip implanted beneath her skin. This is a relatively simple and safe procedure with potential benefits that greatly outweigh the potential risks, according to the American Humane Association. Register your dog's information and your contact information with the microchip manufacturer and keep the info current. Shelters, veterinary offices and other locations can scan your recovered pet and access the information you have on file.
- VetStreet: Dog Tags 101 -- What You Need to Know to Keep Your Pet Safe
- American Humane Association: Identification Tags and Microchips
- Preventive Veterinary Medicine: Retention of Provided Identification for Dogs and Cats Seen in Veterinary Clinics and Adopted from Shelters in Oklahoma City, OK, USA
Eric Mohrman has been a freelance writer since 2007, focusing on travel, food and lifestyle stories. His creative writing is also widely published. He lives in Orlando, Florida.