Any dog owner knows that sometimes dogs get out. Despite their very best intentions it is sometimes impossible to stop their dog from escaping from the home or garden without their knowledge. It is vital, at these times, that anyone coming across that dog knows where it lives. We are all familiar with the traditional dog collar and name tag (In fact In the UK, under the 1992 Dog Control Order it is against the law for the dog not have a name tag with owners name and address including postcode) but there is a newer identification method that will, in 2016, become compulsory for all dog owners.
The long established dog tag has served us well for many years but is not the complete answer. For one thing, as years go by, it is possible that the information contained on the metal tag can fade or disappear altogether. If this degradation is not noticed then the dog tag becomes useless to anyone trying to read it and reunite a lost dog with its owner. It is also possible to lose a tag through normal wear and tear. The worst scenario here though is if the dog gets out while not wearing a collar at all. After all, it is not uncommon for the dog to be without its collar while at home.
So what about a more technical solution? Vets have been micro-chipping dogs for some time but, from 2016, it will be compulsory for all dogs to be chipped. This tiny device, about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted painlessly just underneath the skin, usually in the shoulder area. Provided the details on the chip are kept up to date this should be a foolproof method of identifying all lost dogs. When found, a scanner is passed over the chip and address details and contact numbers are thus revealed.
However, this is not without its problems – what if the details are out of date? There could have been a change of address or contact phone number but these details have not been updated on the dog’s id chip. This would be the same as losing the old fashioned dog tag, so it follows that even new technology has its flaws. The clear answer then is for any responsible dog owner to remember to update the details when necessary.
It really is important that a missing dog is reunited with its owner, for everyone’s sake. An animal shelter, for example, will go to unnecessary expense looking after a missing dog and, in the unfortunate event of the owner not being found, the poor animal may have to be put down. Even the temporary loss of a much-loved dog can cause a great deal of stress on heartache for both owner and animal so it is vital that proper identification is worn at all times by the dog, and, of course, kept up to date!