National Pet ID Week kicks off today. You can help to support the initiative by promoting the importance of pet ID.
Certainly, a lost pet is every pet owner’s worst nightmare. National Pet ID Week highlights the measures pet owners can take to ensure their fur pal has the best chance of being found, should they ever get lost.
There’s very little information on the number of pets that enter into pounds and shelters in Australia, but from the data that has been collected we know it’s a lot.
According to Diana Chua et al, in 2012-13 municipal pounds, shelters and rescue groups across Australia took in more than 200,000 dogs.
While there are many reasons why a pet ends up in a shelter or animal rescue, losing its owner is one such cause. We can identify this by looking at reclaim statistics.
Indeed, research shows that the national percentage of reclaimed dogs in Australia is 48%. Chua et al state, “Key factors influencing the probability of a dog being reclaimed are the proportion of owned dogs with some form of identification, such as microchip, collar and tag with owner contact details, or a council registration tag.”
Also important is the accuracy of the contact information provided by pet parents. A 2015 study found 37% of stray dogs admitted to RSPCA Queensland had inaccurate microchip data.
Microchips being registered to a previous owner or organization 47%)
Phone numbers disconnected or incorrect (29%)
Microchips not registered with a database (14%)
Other studies have revealed that microchipped dogs (where the information is correct and up to date) have almost twice the chance of being reclaimed than non-microchipped dogs.
This, in itself, highlights the importance of pet ID and the huge role it plays in successfully reuniting pets and owners.
Promoting the need for Pet ID
Pet ID is an essential component in keeping pets safe. After all, even the most well-behaved and loyal pets can wander off, getting unintentionally separated from their owners.
As a pet professional, you can play a vital role in promoting the need for pet ID and increasing the number of pets with identification. A few key steps you can take include:
Educate new pet owners on the benefits of pet identification
Advise pet owners to check their pet’s collar and tag
Check whether they need repair or replacing (for example, if the tags are scratched, unreadable or likely to fall off)
Ensure owners check their contact information is up to date
Advise on the different forms of pet ID
For most people, the first thing that comes to mind when you mention pet identification is an ID tag. Indeed, these are inexpensive and easy to access. However, it’s essential to include the right (and correct) information.
The most important information is a phone number. With an up-to-date contact number a pet can easily and quickly be reunited with its owner.
Often ID tags can be small, so if space is an issue a phone number is the only essential piece of information required.
Some owners may like to include an address on their pet’s tag. This can be useful if a pet has wandered off in the local neighbourhood. For privacy and other reasons, some pet owners may not be happy to include this information. Ultimately, it’s their choice and an address is not essential.
Many ID tags will show the pet’s name. This can be useful in helping the pet feel at ease when discovered by a stranger, but it’s not vital.
Of course, the most important advice for owners regarding their pet’s ID is to make sure that any information is legible.
Making the most of microchips
In Australia it’s mandatory for pet owners to have their cat or dog microchipped. However, there are still many pets that aren’t microchipped.
Pet professionals can encourage owners to get their pets microchipped in order to keep them safe. Plus, for those pets that are microchipped, it’s important that owners keep their details current.
Why not use National Pet ID Week as the ideal opportunity to chat to owners about their pet’s ID, the benefits and the need to keep their details up to date.
This might go some way towards keeping pets and pet owners together!
Diana Chua et al. Surrendered and Stray Dogs in Australia—Estimation of Numbers Entering Municipal Pounds, Shelters and Rescue Groups and Their Outcomes. Animals. Vol 7, issue 7. 2017. Accessed online [April 2020] via: https://www.mdpi.com/208890
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