Proper Pet ID FAQs

You’ve heard it over and over: “Tag’Em! South Mississippi.” But what is proper pet ID? Check out these FAQs for the answers to some of our most commonly-asked questions!

Proper pet ID includes three main parts to ensure that your pet is able to be easily returned to you: a collar, an ID tag containing your contact information (this is separate from your pet’s Rabies tag), and a microchip (with up-to-date contact info).

One in three pets will become lost in its lifetime and 80% of those pets will never be reunited with their owners.

Ensuring that your pet has proper identification protects your pet from becoming lost or ending up in a shelter.

Half of the 10,000 pets HSSM cares for each year come in as strays, but most of them appear to have belonged to someone. If a pet enters HSSM as a stray, but is found to have a tag or microchip, that animal does not have to face an extended stay in the shelter or an uncertain fate.

If your pet gets lost and ends up at HSSM, re-claiming him/her can be pricey ($50-$350). However, when you take advantage of HSSM’s Tag ‘Em! South Mississippi pet ID package, a microchip and engraved ID tag cost you only $15.

And if your pet is wearing an ID tag and is microchipped, he/she can be returned to you by anyone instead of coming to HSSM avoiding the $50-$350 fee…making your $15 investment all the more valuable!

A microchip is a device about the size of a grain of rice. Each microchip has a unique number that is linked to your contact information in a national database. Microchips serve as a permanent means of identification for your pet, because collars and tags can sometimes fall off.

A microchip is implanted in your pet (usually between the shoulder blades) with a syringe, just like a vaccination. No anesthesia is necessary and the implantation process takes only a second.

Like any vaccination or shot, the initial implantation of the microchip can be a little painful—small dogs and cats tend to yelp. However, this pain is temporary and once implanted, the microchip does not cause discomfort.

However, if you are concerned with the initial pain of implantation, please consider upgrading to a MiniChip! It is 1/3 the size of a normal Microchip and is an ideal way to make sure your small pet is easily found if lost!

A “normal” microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. The MiniChip is 1/3 smaller than that—making it ideal for smaller breed dogs and cats that may experience a more acute reaction to a larger-size injection.

Pet owners can upgrade their pet’s Microchip to a MiniChip for just $5 extra!

Your pet’s microchip operates using radio frequencies when activated by a microchip scanner. Most Veterinarians, Animal Control Officers, and animal shelters are equipped with microchip scanners.

When your pet’s microchip is scanned, your pet’s unique microchip number appears on the screen and is then searched in a national database to find your contact information.

If contact information is out-of-date, the microchip is rendered useless. Please ensure that you update your pet’s microchip information when you change addresses, phone numbers or even e-mail addresses, so that in the case your pet becomes lost, the microchip is effective in helping reunite you.

To update your pet’s microchip information, you will have to call the company who manufactured your pet’s microchip. Nominal fees may apply when updating your contact information, but this varies by microchip company.

If your pet was microchipped at HSSM, you will call 24PetWatch at 1-866-597-2424 to update his/her information.

Other common microchip companies include AVID (800.336.2843) and HomeAgain.

While a microchip is a permanent means of identification, it can only be read by someone who has a microchip scanner. However, anyone can read your pet’s ID tag and bring him/her right back to you!

Your pet’s ID tag is insurance against you ever having to pay a $50-$350 re-claim fee because your pet has ended up at HSSM.

Consider the tag and microchip a back-up system for one another!

HSSM offers our Tag ‘Em! South Mississippi pet ID package every day during normal business hours in our Lost & Found Lobby. This package includes an engraved ID tag and a microchip for only $15.

You can also have your pet microchipped at most Veterinarians. HSSM’s Bow Wow Meow Boutique has its own machine for engraving ID tags as well.

YES! Make sure your pet is wearing his/her tag with current contact information and your microchip is only $10!

YES! HSSM’s BowWow Meow Boutique has its own tag engraving machine with several stylish options in ID tags ranging in price from $7-$10. Stop by and pick out a tag for your pet! All proceeds from the BowWow Meow Boutique benefit HSSM!