How to read tags on a lost pet

Unfortunately, there is no national Pet ID Tag lookup in place to get a lost pet home. Luckily, lost pets never go more than a few miles from home. This is why a local city or county database is always more reliable than a national one. There are multiple tag manufacturers like National Band & Tag, all with multiple customers who order the same numbering. This is why contacting local animal shelters, veterinarians, and city/county animal control offices are always more likely to produce results than contacting tag manufacturers.

Here are some tag tips to help return lost pets as soon as possible:

The first tag to look for is a Pet ID Tag. These tags usually have the pet’s name on it, the owner’s contact info, or a QR Code on it. New, modern QR Coded pet tags will need to be scanned with a smartphone, or the unique ID number will need to be keyed in on the website to access the owner’s information.

rabies tags with a QR Code

The second tag to look for is a local county or city License Tag. While not every city or county requires a License Tag, the majority of the US enforces pet licensing. Based on where the animal is found, you can contact local animal control offices. You can give them the tag number of the lost pet, and they can then look that unique number up to get the owner’s information.

dog and cat license tags

The third tag to look for is a Rabies Tag. These usually have the veterinarian’s information on it so you can contact them. Because doctors cannot give out patient information, they will have to contact the owner on your behalf.

2019 rabies tag green bell

Other types of tags may include Dog Park License Tags, Apartment Registered Tags, or “I’m Microchipped” Tags. These will all help hint to the area the pet came from to help narrow down your search.

If there are no tags or any forms of identification on the lost pet, you will want to take them to a local vet or animal shelter to have them scanned for a microchip. You can then use social media, found pet flyers, lost pet online databases, and word of mouth to try to find the owners.

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