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Lost and Found, Part 1: Prevention

January 8, 2013

It has been on my mind to write this post for quite some time, ever since my cousin and my sister both lost their dogs in the same weekend this summer. Fortunately through the kindness of strangers, both dogs made their way home within 24 hours. However, not everyone is so lucky. Since then some of my friends have had experiences both losing their dogs and finding someone else’s lost pet. Every time, they all turned to me for help. In this post I will focus on preventive steps to take before your dog is lost. In part 2, I will discuss what to do if your pet is lost, and in part 3, I will cover what to do if you find a lost pet.


Dog tags

As the saying goes, “prevention is the best medicine.” However, we can’t always prevent accidents, and sometimes dogs get out without our knowledge. Therefore, it’s important that your dog has the proper identification to help those who may find him get him back home. There are three forms of identification that your dog should have: ID tags, a city or county license, and a microchip.

ID Tags

ID tags are relatively inexpensive and can be customized with as little or as much information as you want. You can buy them at almost any pet supply store. If you want something a little more “fancy” Dog Tag Art is a great place to order custom dog tags. You can choose from a large selection of existing designs, or you can create your own like I did with Spade’s tag above. They even offer you the option to create a virtual profile online for your pet that can be accessed by anyone who finds your pet and enters the information from the back of the tag. In my cousin’s case, the person who found his dog wasn’t able to get a hold of him or his wife by phone, so they drove the dog to his house and put her in his back yard.

City or County License

A lot of people complain about having to license their dog or cat. However, a city or county license is your dog’s best defense if they somehow end up at the shelter. If your dog is wearing its license when it shows up at the shelter, shelter staff can contact you right away to let you know they have your dog, making your reunion much quicker. Plus, licensing your dog will save you a lot of money if it ends up at the shelter. In the city of Sacramento, a 1-year license for an altered dog is $15. Compare that to the cost of reclaiming an altered, unlicensed dog from the city shelter: $60 plus a boarding fee of $15 per day that your dog is at the shelter.


I confess, it was several years before I finally decided to microchip my dogs. When the technology first came out I was skeptical if it was safe or even effective. But after having a scare of my own a couple years ago, I decided it was the best thing I could do to help get them home if they ever got out. A microchip is painless and inexpensive. Most dogs adopted from shelters are already microchipped, but if your dog isn’t you can usually get one done at your local shelter or vet. You can also find mobile clinics at your local pet supply store. Microchips are important because your dog may not be wearing its tags when it’s found. If a dog is microchipped, it can be scanned at any shelter or vet clinic, making it more likely your dog will be returned to you. Although there are many microchip registries out there where you can register your dog’s microchip for a small fee, when you purchase your microchip it should come with automatic registration with that company at no charge. The most important thing to remember is to keep your contact information current with whomever you register your dog’s microchip.

I hope you have found this information helpful. Although none of us ever expect our dogs to run away or get lost, accidents happen. Making sure your dog has the proper identification can make the difference between bringing your dog home safely or never seeing them again.

  1. Reblogged this on Susan Marlowe CPA & the Animal Loving Life and commented:
    Valuable information, thanks for posting this.
    -Susan Marlowe, CPA

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