It's one of the worst things imaginable: losing a pet. It can make pet owners feel so helpless. The statistics are high and state that one in three pets will get lost. And consider that 90 percent of those that aren't identified won't be recovered.

The old way of looking for a lost pet involved knocking on your neighbors' doors and putting posters up on phone poles. While these tactics can still be very useful, identification systems for animals have almost made them obsolete.

Tagging Your Pet

Most municipalities require pet owners to license their pets and with that comes tags. In addition to these, most pet owners "tag" their pets with their name, address and phone number.

Benefits of tagging your pet:

  • By licensing, you are in the local animal control's database.
  • Pet tags are inexpensive.
  • You can be creative with your pet tag and make it stand out.
  • Updating your information if you move is quick and easy.

Disadvantages of tagging your pet:

  • Tags can fall off
  • If you don't keep your pet's tag up-to-date, he may not be returned to you.

Microchipping Your Pet

Many breeders and humane shelters offer the option of microchipping your pet before you take them home. Your vet can also microchip your dog at any age.

A microchip is placed between a dog or cat's shoulder blades with a needle. Animals stay awake while it's done. It is about the size of a grain of rice so animals aren't aware they've been "chipped." The owner then registers the chip number.

A receiver in the microchip picks up a low-frequency radio wave sent via a scanner, and the identification number in the chip is received, read and then displayed on the scanner. Most vets, rescue centers and animal wardens have scanners, though not all microchips and scanners are compatible.

Advantages of Microchipping:

  • Quick and easy insertion with very little pain.
  • Microchips are compatible with living tissue.
  • Microchips are designed to last for 25 years.
  • Microchips have been proven to aid in pet identification even after prolonged absence.

Disadvantages of Microchipping:

  • Microchips have been know to work free of the skin. Be sure to also have a pet ID tag on your dog or cat at all times.
  • Different places use different scanners. This means that a dog or cat could pass through a shelter without being identified. Luckily, universal scanners are slowly becoming more available. The next step is to adopt the international standard frequency microchip, but that would mean re-microchipping.
  • A microchip is not a GPS device. You cannot follow your pet with it.
  • The insertion can cause problems for some pets.

Pet Identification GPS Tracking Device

GPS Tracking Devices, about the size of a business card - are worn on your pet's collar. You can track your pet's location by calling or texting the device and get his exact location, and even directions.

Benefits of a GPS tracking device:

  • Your pet can be located at almost any locale.
  • Th...