Pet Identification, Why It’s Important!

Each year millions of lost or abandoned pets are taken to shelters, rescues or lose their lives on the street. Less than 15% of dogs and less than 5% of cats in these situations are ever returned to their owners. Without identification, no one can identify whose pet is coming through their doors.

What is the best way to identify my pet?
The best way to make sure you pet gets identified is to get him or her microchipped. The microchip should be used in conjunction with a traditional collar and tags.

Why can’t I just use a collar?
Collars are a good way to identify your pet, but collars can come off and get lost. Without the collar there is no other way to identify your pet.

I have a cat that is only indoors, why should I get her microchipped?
Cats, by nature, are sneaky little critters and they can easily slip out the door between someone’s legs or if you’re carrying in a big package and can’t get the door shut right away. I know, this has happened to me! Or what if there is a fire, or a flood or some other kind of natural disaster? How would someone know that this was your cat? With a microchip they would!

What is a microchip?
Microchips are very small, about the size of a grain of rice. They are implanted with a needle below your pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. Each microchip has its own unique code so when the chip is scanned, your pet can easily be identified. The chip is coated with a special material that causes scar tissue to form around it, preventing the chip from moving and locking it in place.

Will the chip have to be replaced?
No, most microchips will last 75 years, well beyond the lifetime of most pets.

Where can I get my pet microchipped? How much does it cost?
Most veterinarians, humane societies, or shelters will microchip your pet. The price will vary depending on your area, most vets charge about $30-$45. If you prefer to do it yourself, you can purchase HomeAgain microchips from Once your pet has received his HomeAgain microchip, you can go to the HomeAgain website and register him or her. For a fee of $19.99 you can be registered in the National Database for the lifetime of your pet, or if you wish, you can pay $19.99 annually and receive other benefits, including:

  • Proactive Pet Recovery offers
    • Lost Pet Alerts to local clinics, shelters and PetRescuers
    • Lost Pet Posters for immediate assistance in finding
      your pet
  • Pet ID Card with pet’s name, photo, vet information and emergency clinic contact information, to carry with you
  • 24/7 Emergency Medical Assistance ASPCA veterinarians provide telephone assistance in emergency situations (a $55 value free to HomeAgain members)
  • Lost Pet Medical Insurance will reimburse you for emergency medical treatment up to $3,000 (less a $50 deductible)

What do I do if my pet is lost?
First, call HomeAgain or wherever your pet’s microchip is registered and notify them. Call local veterinarians and shelters and alert them of a lost pet. For more tips, check out this blog post, How to Find A Lost Pet.

How to Find a Lost Pet

Losing a pet can be like losing a member of the family. What do you do when your dog or cat goes missing? Here are a few simple tips to help find your lost pet.

1. Always keep a collar and up-to-date tags on your pet. If someone finds your pet, it makes it much easier to contact you. To go one step further, have your pet microchipped. In the event that your pet loses its collar, the microchip will always be there if your pet is found.

2. Contact local humane societies and shelters and file a lost pet report. In the event that your pet is found and picked up by animal control officers, the shelter will know that you are looking for a lost pet.

3. Search the neighborhood. Walk the neighborhood daily and talk with friends and neighbors who might have seen your lost pet.

4. Put up posters. Make a lost pet poster, and post them in the local grocery store and around the neighborhood. You can also put an ad in the local newspaper or on the radio.

5. Don’t give up! Some pets have been lost for months or even years, but still find their way back to their owners.