Pet Tips Mark Siebel

The thought of losing your dog can be devastating. Simple accidents can occur, such as your dog wandering from your yard or going missing by no fault of your own. What is the first thing you should do? Who should you call? The key is to be prepared with proper ID and other means of properly identifying your dog in case they are lost. To ensure your dog returns home safely, follow the below simple tips:

1. Collar and ID tag. The easiest way to identify a lost dog is by an ID tag. This can be a simple tag marked “REWARD” with your cell phone number. I often suggest the phrase “REWARD” to eliminate the possibility of someone keeping your dog if they actually know its name. If the finder limits their emotional connection to the found dog, the better the chance of them calling you quickly to return it. Another benefit of a simple ID tag on your dog is that the majority of people who find a stray dog are lazy. If there is no visible tag, there’s a better chance that they will pass on by and not even attempt to call anybody. A simple ID tag increases the odds that a stranger will call the phone number on the tag for a prompt, safe return. Also, have ample, current photos of your dog to post visible signs around your neighborhood in case they go missing.

2. Microchipping. A common identification of one’s dog is to have it microchipped for proper ID. If your dog goes lost, a local veterinarian’s office or animal rescue shelter will have access to a microchip wand that will properly ID your dog through a national ID database. Many vets offer microchipping (which can often be expensive, as much as $80 per dog), or, you could consider a local certified dog professional, i.e., who charge $20 per dog. The peace of mind knowing that your dog can be identified and connected back to you with your cell phone number is priceless. The combination of both an ID tag and microchipping is your safest bet.

I hope that you will NEVER have to experience the stress and sense of separation associated with losing your dog. If so, with the proper ID, you can rest easier knowing that there is a much higher chance of a safe return home.

• Mark Siebel is owner of DOGGIE STEPS Dog Training, LLC. He has trained more than 400 Valley dogs, speaks regularly at local schools about the importance of dog safety and ownership, and donates time to youths wanting to learn more about dogs. Siebel is a member of the Arizona Professional Pet Sitters Association and Australian Shepherd Club of Arizona. Contact him at (602) 318-0122 or

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