Too many times each year veterinarians and animal shelters receive stray, lost animals, or calls from concerned citizens who have found animals without apparent ownership.  The quickest way to return an animal back to its home is if the animal has identification, which can be readily found. Collars and tags work well if they stay on the animal. Often the animal has lost its collar in its "escape" attempts. Tattoos and microchips are good permanent methods of identification. Tattoos are generally placed in the right ear and have a hospital code and a personal number. Any veterinarian or shelter can locate owners based on this information. The cost of tattoos is inexpensive and is usually done at the time of elective procedures like neutering and spaying, but can be done at anytime while under a general anesthetic.

Microchip implantation over the shoulder area is another excellent method for identification but has one disadvantage compared to tattooing. Not everybody has a microchip scanner (veterinarians & shelters do) in their pockets when they meet a stray animal. Both procedures are a good alternative especially for people traveling with their pets.