When lost, do you have a plan for your pet? Forms of identification, such as an ID tag and microchips, can help you reunite with your pet should they become lost.
Collar and ID Tag
- Pets should wear ID tag on their collar with the pet’s name, owner’s name, address, and phone number
- Using “O” ring to attach your pet’s tag to its collar will be ensure the tag remains on the collar more securely.
- Update ID tags when you move or get a new phone number
- If you are traveling with your pet, it is a smart idea to put a temporary tag on your pet with your “travel location”
- Rabies and license tags can also be helpful if your pet becomes lost.
- Microchips are another way of identifying your pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a variety of resources on microchipping.
- Although more expensive, microchipping gives you and your pet a better chance of reuniting in the incident your pet gets lost. With the technology of the microchip, you can store your information as well as your veterinarian’s information and can be easily updated if you move or change veterinarians.
- Also, in the event that your pet is injured or taken to a hospital, the microchip will enable your veterinarian to contact you as quickly as possible.
- Before purchasing a microchip, it is wise to discuss the process with your veterinarian. They will have the information you need as well as which microchips can be scanned at certain animal clinics and shelters.
Finding a Lost or Stolen Pet
- Make sure to check your neighborhood or the area you pet became lost in. Even after several days of being lost, pets are many times found close to their home.
- Put up signs with your contact information and a picture of the pet. Post theses signs around your community. Note: for safety and privacy reasons, it is recommended to only put your first name and a cell phone number--cannot easily be traced to your home address via online searches.
- If your pet has a microchip, contact the microchip registration company ASAP. Once they are notified, they can activate a lost pet recovery network and place your pet on a “hot sheet.”
- If your pet is wearing its rabies tag, contact your veterinarian. If someone finds your pet, they can look at the rabies tag number and trace it back to your veterinarian. He or she can then inform you of your pets location.
- Call local animal shelters, animal clinics, police/fire stations, and animal control in your area. If someone finds your pet, and they are without an ID tag, sometimes they will take the pet to these locations.
- You can also look to several online resources including a pet “Amber alert” system.
Nowadays, an increasing number of pet owners are deciding to get pet health insurance polices. Typically pet insurance plans will cover your pet’s medical treatments, surgeries, lab fees and prescriptions.
By having pet insurance, owners can lessen the risk of costly veterinary care and allow for a friendly and low budget for each household. Pet insurance can also provide peace of mind, knowing that there is financial backup plans for emergencies. Overall, insurance can help owners seek better pet car with economics being less of an issue and concern.
Points to Consider When Choosing a Pet Health Insurance Plan
Coverage: Make sure you understand what procedures and treatments are covered under each policy. Some will cover preventive care, like vaccinations, although some will require an additional cost. Many times, the least expensive plan to join is when the pet is young. Older pets may have established medical conditions that can possibly be excluded form coverage.
Exclusions: Keep an eye out for exclusions in the policy including pre-existing conditions, hereditary conditions, and conditions for specific breeds.
Deductibles and Copays: It is important to understand that “out of pocket” expenses will be before the plan will reimburse you. Before choosing a coverage policy, make sure you understand the programs reimbursement process. Some insurance providers will allow you veterinarian to submit a claim on your behalf, while other may require you to submit the claim yourself. However, it is important to keep in mind that payment of you veterinarian is due upon his or her services when care is provided.
For more information on pet insurance, feel free to visit ASPCA’s Pet Insurance for more information!
Pet Food Safety
Many people don’t realize that the basic principles of food safety apply to their pets’ foods too. For example, pet food or treats contaminated with Salmonella can cause infections in dogs and cats. And contaminated pet food that is not handled properly can cause serious illness in people too, especially children.
If you’re a pet owner, one of the most important things you can do to keep your pets, your family, and yourself safe from foodborne illness is to wash your hands:
- Before and after handling pet foods and treats, wash your hands for 20 seconds with hot running water and soap. (Tip: Sing “Happy Birthday” twice to time yourself.)
- After petting, touching, handling, or feeding your pet, and especially after contact with feces, wash your hands for 20 seconds.
- Wash hands before preparing your own food and before eating.
Because infants and children are especially susceptible to foodborne illness, keep them away from areas where you feed your pets. Never allow them to touch or eat pet food.
Safe Handling Tips for Pet Foods and Treats (FDA)
Pets can get food poisoning, too. How to buy, prepare, and store pet food to avoid contamination.
Pet Food (FDA)
Details on how the FDA ensures that pet foods are properly labeled and contain safe ingredients.
FDA 101: Animal Feed (FDA)
Yes: Pet food, including dry and canned food and pet treats, is considered animal feed.
How to Report a Pet Food Complaint (FDA)
Before you contact the FDA, review this checklist on the pet food product and any symptoms your pet may have.
Salmonella and Dry Pet Food
Salmonella from Dry Pet Food and Treats (CDC)
Follow these tips to help prevent an infection with Salmonella from handling dry pet food and treats.
Podcast: Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Getting a Salmonella Infection from Dry Pet Food
Listen to the podcast or read the script (2:56 minutes)