Whole Dog Journal's Blog August 27, 2012

Go Check Your Dog’s Collar

Posted at 01:24PM - Comments: (8)

I feel as if I have written this story a hundred times, but it’s worth writing again:

Please go check your dog’s collar RIGHT NOW and make sure that the numbers on its ID tags are current. And then, think about his microchip – he HAS an implanted identification microchip, doesn’t he? Is it currently registered with a microchip registration company? And if so, does the registry have your current contact information?

A good friend lost her dog last week, and only after he went missing did she realize that his ID tag on his collar has only the number for her landline phone – long since disconnected in favor of a mobile phone. As I walked her through some additional steps she could take to improve the chances that she gets him back, she realized that she needed to update the contact information for his microchip ID AND city dog license. At least now, if he gets picked up or turned into a shelter, she’ll get him back.

It was a tiny bit of comfort that, as her lost dog drama was playing out, our local newspaper was publishing updates about a dog who was turned into the same shelter where she updated her contact information. The dog had gone missing from his “grandpa’s” house in Kansas (grandpa was reportedly dog-sitting the dog while the dog’s family was on vacation). Apparently a transient found the dog, and brought her from there to California, where the transient then (inexplicably) turned the dog into a shelter. Fortunately, the dog had a microchip with CURRENT contact information for the dog’s owner, who lives in Colorado. One of the newspaper articles reported that the owners didn’t have enough money to fly the dog home, and local people chipped in so that the dog, Sara Bella, could be reunited with her family soon.

I hope my friend’s dog finds his way home more easily than this. I know it would help if his tags were current.

Comments (8)

BoomerangTags.com is the BEST - high quality, fast service, made in the USA! We have used the CollarTag for years, and are often complimented on how nice it looks.

In addition to my own contact info, add my vet's phone number on the tags.

This article also reminds everyone of the importance of a SOLID recall! Please, everyone, make sure your dog knows its name and your command to have him come back to you.

Posted by: PY | August 31, 2012 10:25 AM    Report this comment

I have several friends who remove collars when their dogs are in the house... I don't know or understand why - it just takes someone coming in the house for them to zip out w/ no ID. Even if microchipped, if your dog is found quickly and nearby, it's much easier for someone to read a tag or collar to call or return your dog. And a loose dog w/ no collar is tough to catch and lead to someplace safe - your car off a busy road, the local police or vets or shelter.
Last year we adopted our neighbors dog (our neighbor passed away) Two weeks after the dog moved in, a friend stopped by when we weren't home. A few days later, he said, "what a nice new dog you have! That Rex is really friendly." Rex was the name of our neighbors LAST dog - she apparently just transferred the tag to the "new" dog (who at that point was 5 yrs old) Not only did the poor dog have the wrong name on her tag, she had her deceased owners info on! I quickly had a new tag made, went to town hall and changed the registration, and went to the vet's to get her microchip ID # and have them vouch for me as the new owner when I changed the info w/ HomeAgain. It was also great that she was wearing the yellow HomeAgain tag - I wouldn't have known she was microchipped without scanning her otherwise.
Lastly, for the past 2 summers I've dog sat for friends dogs for a week. Both times, I had a tag made w/ my contact info on it. Both owners live about an hour from me. Small price to pay "just in case" the dogs got loose in a strange town!

Posted by: PAMELA B | August 30, 2012 7:04 AM    Report this comment

Once my car had a recall, for of all things the BUCKLE (plastic) of the seat belt that when exposed to hot/cold over periods of time could crack and fail. So that influences my uncomfortableness with the new plastic squeeze buckles...so I was happy to read about the Duralon collars as another resource...I am fond of Coastal which last I checked, were still being made in the US.
I would never let my pup be without her collar on...that's the one time when an accident could happen.
As someone who has found many pups to return home, I think a tag with phone number(s) is most helpful. None of us are driving around with chip readers, though I see the benefit for those who wind up in shelters.
There is a company, Boomerangtags.com, that I have used for years. They have THICK plastic tags where the info is punched through to a contrast colored lining...so it won't wear off. Very good quality, several shapes, sizes and colors. The service is amazingly quick. They offer a variety of types and materials of tags, and the website details the pros and cons of all.
Personally, I have the flip side also printed so I have multiple phone numbers listed including both my family's landline, my own and my cellphone. I also have a duplicate tag on for where we always stay on vacation with the number of the hotel and my cellphone. It starts "In Toronto call...
Hope the little lost one comes home quick...please keep us posted.

Posted by: robin r | August 28, 2012 11:12 PM    Report this comment

I didn't know until this year that you can register ANY microchip with the company of your choosing. My dogs have HomeAgain chips, but my foster dog has a different brand. When she was at the vet for her checkup, the tech noted that her microchip info wasn't in their system, so she updated it. I mentioned that it was a different kind, and the rescue group was responsible for keeping the info up to date - and that I hope they did it! That's when she told me I could add my foster dog's microchip to my HomeAgain account. She had already scanned her, so she wrote down the chip number for me and now my little foster pup is in the same system as all the rest of my dogs.

Posted by: Sherron H | August 28, 2012 8:33 PM    Report this comment

I agree about the stealing concern...more likely than my dogs (both herding dogs that stick like glue) running away.

The best thing I've done is purchase collars with custom embroidered phone numbers. There is room for two numbers, including area codes, and easily changed by replacing the collar. It only took losing many tags before I figured this one out. Of course, the dogs are microchipped, also. Good reminder to check the registration information every so often.

Posted by: Robin C | August 28, 2012 6:29 PM    Report this comment

Also make sure when you attach your leash to the collar that it hooks onto the collar and not the metal circle that holds the tags on. One pull and the spring metal can open and the tags can be lost. It's happened to me twice when friends hooked the wrong "circle".

Posted by: Carol H | August 28, 2012 3:14 PM    Report this comment

We use flat buckle collars from Dogs Unlimited. Unlike many of today's collars they use real nickel buckles, not the plastic ones that can open without warning. The Duralon collars (with a huge number of colors) have tremendous test-strength, should a dog pull. They can go in water, since they are nylon with a plastic outer coat, & they wipe clean. Dogs Unlimited put a bolted on, ID tag on every collar and will include up to 4 lines of information. These brass tags do NOT hang from the collar or catch on anything and in 25+ years of use, have never had a problem or malfunction. A number of my Duralon collars have gone from dog to dog, & lasted for YEARS. I find this the best way to maintain ID on a dog at ALL times, included when crated or running in the field.
Elizabeth Amos, NC

Posted by: Betsy | August 28, 2012 2:08 PM    Report this comment

How do you feel about collars? I've heard so many things but in general I do not leave a collar on Remy. I put the collar on when we go out. My tags are just dog license tags that are updated each year, of course. He is microchipped and the contact info is updated each year when I renew.

I worry more about someone stealing him than him getting lost. And in that case, tags won't do any good.

Posted by: Remysmom | August 28, 2012 9:37 AM    Report this comment

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