Even though National Tag Your Pet Day is a few months away, it’s not too early to start thinking of ways to identify your pet. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study, about one million stray dogs and half a million stray cats are turned in to animal shelters across the nation each year. Unfortunately, less than 15 percent of those dogs and a measly 2 percent of those cats are ever reunited with their owners. Why is this number so low? One of the reasons could be that owners fail to properly identify their pets. These new products on the market make it easy to keep your pet located:

PetFINDER ID Tag. Before placing the petFINDER tag on their pet, owners call a number and record a personal message about the animal, including its name, health/dietary/behavioral issues, and any other relevant information. They then register three contact numbers where they can be reached if their pet is found. Anyone who finds a lost pet with one of these tags on will see the toll-free number on the tag and can call to hear the message and be automatically connected to the phone numbers listed. You can make instant and unlimited changes to the contact numbers from any telephone even after the pet is lost or if you discover the previous numbers do not reflect where you can now be reached. This system reunited many pets with their owners who were evacuated after Hurricane Katrina. The cost is $12. For more information, visit amazon.com/Pet-Finder.

Zoombak Advanced GPS Dog Locator. This system uses GPS technology to track the family pet. The pet owner sets up his safety zones, which defines the area that the pet should be. If the pet wanders outside of the preset limits, the pet owner will be alerted via email or text message. Up to 10 different safety zones can be created and turned off or on via the website Zoombak.com. Pet owners can be updated as to pet locations via email or text at intervals of five minutes up to every hour. Cost is $99.99 for the unit, plus $12.99 for monthly service fee. For more information, visit zoombak.com

Nite Ize Spotlit Pet. This product is a great addition to an identification tag for your pet. The Nite Ize Spotlit Pet tag is a stainless steel carabiner with LED lights that clips on to almost any type of collar and helps your pet be spotted in the dark. A lot of people who have purchased this product complain that the instructions on the package don’t tell you that in order for the light to stay on, you have to take it out of test mode by pressing and holding the light for about 10 seconds until it flashes. And then the light will stay on. Prices range from $6-$10. For more information, visit amazon.com/Nite-Ize

Flexi PC Pet ID Tag. The PCPetID is a portable PC storage device that is waterproof, weatherproof, and shock resistant. It requires no batteries or Internet connection and hangs from your pet’s collar just like any other identification tag. Separate forms are stored on the PCPetID, allowing you to enter as much or as little information as you feel comfortable providing. Just plug the PCPetID into any personal computer’s USB port, and you can enter your pet’s and your own information on short and simple to use Microsoft Word for Windows forms. Plus, unlike ID tags, you can change the information as often as necessary to keep it up-to-date. It is made of metal, so you can engrave additional information on the outside of the PCPetID if you choose. Price is $25. For more information, visit petco.com

Microchip. Even though microchipping has been around for many years, it might still be new to some. It involves the injection of a tiny chip (about the size of a grain of rice) just under your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. The process of inserting a microchip is similar to when your pet receives a shot, and no anesthesia is necessary for implantation. Once in place, a microchip scanner can detect the microchip immediately. Microchips are said to last 20 years, so there is no need to remove or replace it during a pet’s lifetime. Although a microchip is a lifesaver, don’t rely on it as your pet’s only means of identification. While your area shelter may have a microchip scanner, your neighbor most likely doesn’t, so a collar with an identification tag is a great addition to the microchip.

Local Animal Shelters That Microchip

Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) microchips all of its adoptable cats at the shelter at no cost to the adopter. This registration is valid for the life of the cat. It is the responsibility of the adopter to keep contact information updated. For more information, visit asapcats.org

DAWG microchips all its dogs before they are adopted at no additional cost. Currently, as part of its pit bull spay/neuter program, the group offers free spaying and neutering to pit bulls and pit bull mixes, as well as vaccines and a microchip at the time of the surgery. The group can only do this if it is spaying or neutering the dog, so DAWG doesn’t offer chips or vaccines to pit bulls who are already spayed or neutered. For more information, visit sbdawg.org

K9 Pals offers free microchips for every adopted dog. For more information, visit k-9pals.org

Santa Barbara County Animal Services offers microchipping for dogs and cats for only $40. This includes registration fee. Fore more information, visit countyofsb.org

Santa Barbara Humane Society microchips all cats and dogs before they are adopted. The microchip is included in the price of the adoption. For more information, visit: sbhumanesociety.org

According to the American Humane Association, almost 4 million pets are euthanized every year because their owners aren’t found in time. If a shelter cannot determine a pet’s owner, the pet may be euthanized in as few as three days. Make sure your pets are properly identified so they can be returned home without becoming a statistic!

Adoptable Pet of the Week


Squirt is a 4-month-old neutered male Chihuahua mix who only weighs seven pounds! He is a calm and confident dog who would do well in a household with other dogs or cats. He is an alpha dog and always thinks he’s in charge. He would do best with kids over 12 years old. Even though he struts his stuff, he’s a little sweetheart and loves to be carried around.

If Squirt sounds like the perfect dog for you, stop by the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Road in Goleta and complete a no-obligation adoption application.

Do you love dogs, but can’t have a pet? To donate or volunteer with K-9 PALS, the all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that pays for all the nonroutine medical expenses and prescription foods for the S.B. County shelter dogs, call (805) 570-0415 or link to K-9PALS.org


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