Bringing home a pup is a great  joy. You will have a loyal friend that will always be around and make you happy for many years to come. But, just like dogs are there for us no matter what, we have to be there for them as well and take proper care of all their needs. This means taking care of their nutrition, taking them out for walks and having regular check-ups at the vet to ensure they stay healthy and get the most out of life.

Of course, in addition to making sure their health is top-notch, you will also be concerned about their safety. Regardless of where you live and how safe your neighbourhood is, you never know when your furry friend might get lost or disappear. This risk is especially heightened during holiday periods when there are unusual noises, like fireworks and parties.  To increase your chances of finding them or having them returned, you need to look into different identification methods for dogs. Below, we have listed the pros and cons of the most common types, so take a look.

Pet ID tag

Perhaps the easiest and most common way to identify a dog is by using an ID tag. While they might seem old-school, this is actually a great way to ensure your pet will be returned as these allow for you to be contacted immediately. For instance, including the owners’ names and mobile phone numbers on the custom engraved pet tags will ensure finding their dogs and calling the owners right away instead of taking the pups to the shelters, or trying to find a local vet. Tags are quite inexpensive and easy to get so they are definitely a must when it comes to keeping your four-legged friend safe.  Remember if your pet is staying with a carer whilst you are on holiday, you should also get a tag with your carer’s details.

However, keep in mind that collars and tags which contain the information can be easily removed by people with bad intentions. Furthermore, it can happen that a collar is snagged on things and pulled off. Plus, it’s common sense, but often overlooked – make sure the info on the tag is current.

GPS Tracker

A collar with a GPS could be invaluable if you have a fearful or anxious dog that often wanders off, or an escape artist looking for adventure. Seeing as how this technology uses satellite to locate pets, you will not have to panic – you can just take a look on your computer or smartphone and know exactly where your furry friend is. There are many functions these collars can come with. For instance, some can notify you when the dog leaves a specific area and others let you know when the conditions outside change and become too hot or cold.

On the other hand, when it comes to the cons, you should keep in mind that the batteries need to be recharged on a regular basis in order for the device to work. Moreover, GPS collars can be on the bulky side, which makes them impractical for smaller pets. Finally, just like collars with tags, these collars can also come off, either by accident or on purpose, which means that they are only effective when they are on the dog.

In the USA there is now technology on the market which utilises facial recognition to enable pets to be matched to their owners.  It hasn’t made it to Australia yet, but watch this space!


The last option (and probably the most important) is microchipping. This is a permanent way of identifying your pet and it involves injecting a chip the size of a grain of rice under their skin. It is located in the neck area between the dog’s shoulders. The procedure is no more painful than a simple vaccination and can be done during a routine vet visit, without sedation. Each chip has a unique series of numbers that, when scanned, are used to identify the animal, and connect them with their owner. This approach has many benefits in addition to being permanent – it needs no batteries or maintenance.

Remember in Australia microchipping is mandatory – and if you are getting a young puppy from a breeder it should be microchipped before you take ownership.  If not, then your vet can easily do the procedure.

If your pet goes walkabout, all vets have a scanner which can read the chip, which means that you can be reunited with your furry friend sooner rather than later.

The most important (and often overlooked) thing about a microchip, is that it is as good as the data in the database, and if you move then you need to ensure that the information is updated.

There are myths about microchips which are simply not true.  They do not hurt your pet, and they don’t make your pet ill!

But remember a microchip is not a tracker, it is an identifier, but the good thing is that it cannot be removed.

Putting it all together

To keep your beloved pet safe and to give you the best chance of your pet being returned safely to you, it is ideal to combine all of these methods.  They are not mutually exclusive, and they work great together to cover a wide range of situations so you can make sure you have your precious dog with you for many years to come!

This article has been written by Emma Williams, an Australian writer with a master‘s degree in business administration, who has a passion for lifestyle and design.


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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals

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