Microchip/Tatoo

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says that while 80 percent of pet owners realize the importance of ID tags, just 33 percent say their pet always wears one. If you’re among the two-thirds of pet owners who don’t always make sure the ID tag is in place, we deliver some identification alternatives.

One method is to insert a tiny microchip as a means of permanent identification. The pet microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. It is injected under the skin in the neck area between the shoulders.

Microchip placement is very similar to a vaccination. A bit of loose skin between the animal’s shoulder blades is gently pulled up, and the needle containing the chip is inserted. The trigger is depressed, injecting the microchip beneath the skin.

There are some drawbacks to microchipping: Sometimes the microchip drifts away from the initial injection site, making it difficult to find. And not all scanners read all brands of microchip.

An alternative to microchipping involves tattooing a unique code or information on the inner pinna (ear flap), the tummy or inner leg of a fully grown pet. ID tattoos often are done while an animal is under anesthesia for another procedure. Otherwise, a sedative and local anesthesia is used.