Useful info about how to keep track of
Your Dog's Vital Information
And, to prevent your sadness and anguish if your dog is lost
Adoption papers |
Bill of sale |
Breeding contract |
File key paperwork | Identification | Legal papers | Medical records | Medications
Microchips | Photos | Proof of ownership | Spaying and neuter proof
Special needs | Tags | Tattoos | Veterinary insurance policy | Your Will
If you choose your dog from a shelter, the adoption papers will carry a record of his or her estimated age, up-to-date vaccinations, sterilization, personality evaluation and all other information known about him or her. Though these particulars are fresh in your mind when you first bring your new pet home, after several years and several more pets, you can easily confuse such information if it's not written down.
Bill of sale
It's not a good idea to buy your dog from a pet store. But if you do, the bill of sale and its accompanying papers are crucial to your pet's future. If your pet becomes ill after you bring her home, you may have legal recourse under state or local consumer protection laws that require the pet store to pay for necessary medical care.
In the saddest scenario, some states have pet "lemon laws" that allow you to return a wretchedly sick, ill-bred animal to the store for a refund. Needless to say, in such emotional situations, your proof of purchase is crucial.
If you get a purebred dog from a responsible breeder, of course you'll want a record of her sire and dam, as well as inoculation and medical records. If you find a dog through a breed rescue group, their policies may prevent you from tracing her parentage, but you'll still get adoption papers and a certification that she's been spayed. If you own a true show dog, of course, you will keep extensive records on many aspects of your dog's life.
Localities require proof that your dog is licensed. A paper record that matches the number on your dog's license helps you reclaim your dog if he or she is found by animal control personnel.
File key paperwork
It's important to keep comprehensive records about your dog, just as you do for other family members. Medical and licensing records, as well as adoption or breeding papers, belong in these files. Key information also should be included in an emergency kit with other essential family papers.
If there is a natural disaster, if your pet is missing or if something should happen to you, your dog's records are invaluable. You need to provide them to pet sitters, boarding kennels or a new vet. If you take your dog on a trip out of the country, you'll need them, too. Many foreign countries have strict policies that require an extensive history of your pet's background and health.
If disaster strikes and a dog is separated from his owner, it's surprising how difficult it is for humans to identify their pets. If your pet has been injured or emotionally traumatized, if he or she has been kept in a strange place with other animals, they may not immediately recognize you or vocalize as you pass by his or her kennel. You should have as many ways of identifying your dog as you can.
In regions where rabies is endemic, government health departments can require immunization against this fatal disease. You usually need proof of rabies inoculation when you license your dog or travel by air, with other ID tags, your dog's rabies tag or her entire collar can be lost, so you should keep the paper certificate you get when she receives her shot on file and easily accessible.
If your dog bites someone, that certificate can save her life. The only other way a vet can prove that your dog is rabies-free is to test her brain tissue. If you can't provide paper proof of vaccination, a court could order a vet to euthanize your pet in order to perform such a test.
Routine medical information
Record your vet's name and emergency number and a history of your dog's inoculations against distemper and rabies, as well as results of her medical check-ups and blood profiles.
What heartworm medication does your dog take, and according to what schedule? Does she take any other medicines regularly? Keep a copy of labels from pill bottles or boxes in the file to ensure uniformity in manufacturer and dosage
Microchipping your dog is a great way of "Keeping Track" of you dog. Each year over 3 million animals are euthanized in pet shelters in the USA. Many of these animals are someone's pet that either got lost or was found wandering through busy streets. Now with microchipping, missing pets can be taken back to their rightful owners quickly!
How does a microchip work?
A microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice. It is placed under your pet's skin using a needle and acts as a tracking device. The microchip itself carries a number which is put into a database with contact information, such as, name, phone number and address. If your pet wanders off and a pet shelter or vet's office picks him or her up, they can scan your pet's body to find out who Fido belongs to. Pets that receive a microchip implant will feel the same amount of pain as a vaccination shot. Remember, microchips last for your pet's lifetime, so all you have to do is keep his or her records up to date!
A very handy website to make a note of is PetChip.Info - PetChip.Info is a Pet Chip Registry which is part of a multi-country organisation designed as a quick reference tool for animal care groups and vets and keeps microchip pet records for the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia.
Keep recent print and digital photos of your dog in your emergency files. Include photos from various angles that clearly show coat type and coloring, close-ups of the face and any exceptional physical characteristics. In the past few years, shelters in disaster areas have begun posting lost and found pet pictures on the Internet. You might need to post your missing dog's photo online, too.
Proof of ownership
Pets are classified as property under the law – same as your home, car, jewelry or other precious possessions. Your dog can be lost, injured through someone else's fault, or even stolen. Ownership records can back up your claim if you go to court.
Spaying and neuter proof
In response to pet overpopulation, some local governments ask for proof that your dog has been spayed or neutered before they will issue you with a dog license.
Unchecked pet reproduction burdens taxpayers and threatens the public health when unwanted animals roam the streets. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that between 4 and 6 million cats and dogs are euthanized by shelters each year because there aren't enough homes to care for them.
Is your dog allergic to medications or any other substances? Does she have serious medical problems that require constant monitoring or treatment? If she's diabetic, how often does she receive insulin? Is she on a special diet? Does she take herbal remedies or anything to prevent motion sickness?
Every dog should have a collar tag that states his or her name, your name, your phone number and city. Your address also is also recommended. Rather than buying a separate name and contacts tag, I dual purpose my girls' parasitic tags.
In some States in the US, tattooing is legal and considered an acceptable form of identification for dogs. In fact it's one method advocated by PETA People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
PETA recommends on its website to have dogs tattooed and registered through the National Dog Registry, pointing out that unidentified dogs can fall into the wrong hands.
However, please be mindful that in some States it is illegal to tattoo dogs, so before you have your dog tattooed it's advisable to check out if it is legal or not in the State where you live. If it is legal you will find that many spay and neuter clinics will tattoo a small tattoo on the inside flap of dogs ears as proof of being spayed or neutered. This is an excellent time to have an ID tattoo done. Make sure you take a photo of it, date the photo and store it on at least two separate devices as a backup.
Veterinary insurance policy
If you have pet medical insurance, you'll want to keep the policy close at hand, and up dated annually, together with your vet's day and emergency phone numbers.
Many people include clauses in their wills to provide for a pet after they die. The name of the person who has agreed to adopt your pet and any financial support you leave for your pet's care should be noted.
This article and information forms part of the Carole's Doggie World Holistic Library and is presented for informational purposes only.The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local vet. Instead, the content offers the reader information researched and written by Carole Curtis for www.carolesdoggieworld.com