Pets are a big part of a lot of people’s lives. For some, and really for many, they become a part of the family. 

Today starts National Pet ID Week. It’s a good time for pet owners to look at what they can do to find their pet should the animal become lost or go missing.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, nearly 6.5 million pets enter animal shelters each year. Around half of those, some estimates say, are lost pets. 

Being able to find lost pets means there are more spaces in shelters and kennels for animals that truly have no home. 

According to vetstreet.com, there are five steps pet owners should take. 

1. Make sure your pet is always wearing an identification tag. Microchips are important and useful, but your dog or cat also needs to have a regular ID tag with your contact information on it. 

2. Get a microchip. ID tags can fall off or be removed. The microchip, injected under your pet’s skin, alerts a scanner waved over the area and the owner’s unique identification number can be retrieved.

3. Keep the microchip information up to date. Have your vet scan your pet once a year to make your information is current.

4. Remember that a pet can always get lost.

5. If a pet is lost, start searching immediately. While that sounds simple, often, pet owners will assume their pet will just show back up. 

It is estimated that 78 million dogs and more than 85 million cats are owned in the U.S., and nearly half — 44% — of all households have at least one dog, according to the American Pet Products Association. 

Take the steps to make sure your pet doesn’t turn into a stray.

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