Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pet parents: Does your dog have a collar and a microchip? Why not?

Liam the pug sporting a nice collar
This morning, I heard a blip on OPB about the Bend dog shelter. Apparently, they've had a significant amount of thunder in Bend over the last week, and dogs all across the area have been spooked and have run away. Since August 24, the shelter has taken in over 38 dogs. Some dogs were brought in by law enforcement and others were brought in by concerned bystanders who didn't want the animals to be hurt. Many of these dogs are still at the shelter, waiting for their owners to come get them.

Once again, this is a great reminder to keep a collar on your dogs. If law enforcement picks up your dog, you'll get the dog back right away. If the dog hides with someone in the neighborhood, that person can call you. It's easy for your dog to be reunited with you.

A collar also sends a very clear signal that the dog is both owned and loved. Dogs can sometimes hunker down and become aggressive in a shelter situation. It's easy for people to assume that a dog like this has no person. It's easy to think of an aggressive dog like this as a homeless dog. But a collar can remind people that the dog does have a family. The collar shows that someone spent money on this dog. That could be just the prompt a harried shelter staffer needs in order to change thinking about that dog. It could shift the conversation between a dog and a shelter staffer. 

If your dog won't wear a collar, use a microchip. Shelters always scan for microchips, and they call you when your dog appears at the shelter. Microchips aren't free, and they do require a little maintenance. If you move or shift numbers, you have to call the company to update your data. But a microchip can't slip off or get taken off. It's implanted, and it's always working. That's a great protection for your pet.

Sure, it's easier and cheaper to let dogs go unidentified. But dogs panic when they're exposed to loud noises. They tend to run off. The least we can do is keep them safe and make sure we can get them back at the end of the day. Collars and chips can do that. Take advantage of that. Your dog will thank you.