Pet Identification

Why is it important to have ID on your pet?

Having ID for your pet increases the likelihood that a lost pet will find its way home again. If a lost pet is found injured or even deceased, a form of identification can also give a family closure.

Forms of ID can be:


Microchips are a reliable and increasingly popular identification option. A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted under the pet’s skin, usually in between the shoulder blades, through an injection. The microchip contains information about the pet’s owner and is stored in a database online. The microchip emits a radio frequency that can be read using a hand-held scanner that animal shelters and veterinarians have.


Tattoos are a number and letter code, placed in the pet’s right ear. The tattoo code identifies the veterinary hospital who performed the tattoo and the year it was done. A breeder tattoo is hard to trace the owner of the lost pet but is still a visual aid in pet ID.

Collar and ID Tags

Collars and tags are the “old-fashioned” option and provide an instant visual source of identification. Tags should contain your pet’s name and up-to-date information for contacting you. If you travel a great deal with your pet, it is best to include your cell phone number on the tag. On your pet’s collar, a rabies tag and license tag, are also a great idea. These contain a great deal of information that can help get your pet home. Collars and tags do require a bit of maintenance, and they must be replaced when they become worn. A worn collar may fall off after your pet gets lost and the vital information for getting your pet home will be lost too. Tags also get worn and eventually, the engraving will become unreadable.

High-Tech GPS Collars

The latest in pet identification is the GPS collar. This is by far the most expensive option, but as the technology improves, we expect prices to go down. The GPS collar can also be a little bulky compared to more simple collars, but again, time will improve the technology, and these gadgets will become smaller and less unwieldy. GPS collars are the only way to geo-locate your pet after they have been lost.

By combining a visual identification method with microchipping, a pet owner is further increasing the chances that a lost pet will be found. Pet owners should consider keeping a collar and tags on a microchipped pet for the best results. Always make sure all the information on all your pets ID is UP-TO-DATE with the correct information when moving, changing phone numbers, or even adopting or rehoming the pet.

Written by Airdrie Animal Hospital