Often pet are found with licenses or rabies tags but no personal information. This makes it much more difficult for the person who finds your pet to locate the owner (you). Pets found at night or any time when city offices are closed without this valuable information may end up at the pound instead of in their homes.
Because of this, we advise that every pet wear a collar or harness and an identification tag at all times. Information should include your pet's name, current address with zip code, phone numbers with area code and any special notes, such as "needs meds". Engraving REWARD next to the pet's name has a psychological effect of making people look harder for you. This goes for cats as well as dogs. This is by far the quickest way your beloved animal will find their way home.
In addition to tags, every pet should have a microchip. This is a tiny computer chip about the size of a grain of rice. It is implanted under the pet's skin between the shoulder blades. While photographs and vet records help to prove the ownership of an animal, a microchip is the only way that is 100% guaranteed to prove that a missing, lost, or stolen animal belongs to you. Almost every veterinarian and public animal shelter offers theses devices, and more non-profit and no-kill shelters are starting to offer them as well. We personally endorse the Idaho Humane Society which offers this service for the low price of $25. Many types of animals can be implanted with microchips such as birds, reptiles, birds, horses, and of course dogs and cats.
It is critical to register your personal information with whatever veterinarian or organization that implants the chip. In most cases there is also an option to register your pet nationwide for a small additional fee. It is important to keep your information up-to-date as well. Sadly there are animals which move with their owners but vital information such as phone numbers and address are never updated. Even with the most heroic efforts shelter staff these cases are very difficult to resolve. For more information please contact your local shelter.