As a dog owner, losing your beloved pooch is one of the scariest things that can happen to you. Since your lost pet can't tell anyone what his name is or who he belongs to, you need to make sure your dog always has identification with him.
Identity is Everything
Thousands of pets wind up in animal shelters every year. If your dog gets lost, he could become one more of those shelter pets. You may not always be able to prevent your dog from getting out through an open door or slipping through a gap in your fence, but if you make sure your dog has an easy to spot, easy to read form of identification then you are giving him the best chance possible for making it home safe. Even though you can easily identify your pooch from a crowd of similar pets, chances are low that a stranger will be able to pick your dog out of a sea of canines. Your pup's collar should provide his name, your name, your address, your cellphone number and your veterinarian's information.
Choosing the Right Collar
A collar is a snugly fitting, sturdy and easily maintained accessory that can be as fashionable as it is functional. Choosing the right collar for your pup is nearly as important as selecting the right information to include on his ID tag. Collars that include either an elastic section or that are made of elastic material are considered safer than those that do not. Elastic collars are designed to stretch and break if they get snagged or tangled on anything. You want to choose a collar for your dog that fits snugly without chafing or rubbing and that will break if your dog is ever in a situation where he is snagged on something by his collar. Collars that break can prevent your dog from being strangled or choked to death in the event that an accident occurs.
To Tag or Not to Tag
ID tags are easy to obtain and easy to replace whenever you change your information. On the downside, dog identification tags are notorious for falling off of dog collars and getting caught on various items. Your dog's tag isn't going to do him much good if he loses it while he is lost on the streets. An elastic collar has your personal information woven into the actual fabric of the collar or printed on an ID tag that is an integral part of the dog collar itself. The fewer items you have dangling from the collar, the safer the collar is going to be for your dog.
Other Options for Your Pup
Elastic collars can and do break, they're supposed to. Because that happens, you should make sure to have a secondary method for identifying your dog. Microchips are a great backup method of ID because they go under your dog's skin and cannot be easily lost or removed. You should keep your veterinary records up to date and take plenty of pictures of your dog. Recent pictures of your pet, especially those that clearly show his unique markings, will help confirm his ID in the event of an emergency.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.