Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Pet Name Tags vs Microchips. Do You Need Both?

Microchipping has become increasingly popular over the last few years, but there is a lot of confusion over the role that microchipping plays in reuniting pets with their owners.  If a pet is microchipped, does it need to wear a name tag?  If a dog has a council registration tag, does it need a name tag as well?

Our view is clear: all pets MUST HAVE BOTH.  But why?

1.  Microchips do not find missing animals.  They have no GPS capability, so like a pet tag they simply store an owner's details.

2.  But a microchip requires a fair amount of work for a member of the public to retrieve these details.  They need to:

  • Recognise a pet is missing
  • Pick it up
  • Take it to the vet
  • Get it scanned
  • Get the vet to check both the NZ and Australian microchip databases
  • Retrieve the owner's details
  • Give them a call
That is a lot of steps to go through.

3.  A council registration tag also requires a fair amount of work.  A member of the public needs to:
  • Recognise the pet is missing
  • Pick it up
  • Phone the council
  • Negotiate the release of the owner's details (which many councils will no longer hand out)
  • Either ring the owner or wait for the pound to collect the animal
Again, that is a lot of steps to go through.

4.  A name tag is a comparatively easy tool for a member of the public to use.  A well designed tag will have the owner's contact number on one side, so a member of the public can ring or text them straight away.  There's no need to take the pet anywhere, make multiple phone calls or negotiate the retrieval of personal details.

5.  But a name tag does have several limitations.  The first is it can be relatively easy to lose.  Tags can come loose and be lost in a dog park, and collars can be removed either by the pet or a human.  In this instance, a microchip is a good backup option.  

6.  Microchips are also a great option in instances where there's uncertainty over a pet's true owner.  A microchip is much more difficult to remove, so Police will typically rely on a microchip to determine who owns a pet if there is ever a debate.  This is especially important if your pet is stolen or accidentally re-homed.

But a microchip is not a solution on its own.  A microchip AND a name tag are essential tools to ensure your pet(s) are returned to you as quickly as possible.  If they don't have both, they really shouldn't be allow out of the house.  

1 in 3 pets go missing.  Inspector Spot tracks them down.  If your pets are not registered with him, visit to get them registered today.

1 comment:

  1. I think best add cell number on tag and still micro chip. I found two dogs running around looking scared on road - nearly got run over so i went grab them and they only had council registration number no contact number which more of hassle for me because i am deaf and i would have to go home use relay and ring the council to let owner know so for me as Deaf person best is add the contact number so i can text or ring owner straightway to let owner know.