Collars, ID tags, and microchips

Cat wearing collar and tags

Collars and ID tags

Nothing is more effective than a collar and ID tag to ensure that a lost pet is returned home safely.

Every dog and cat adopted from Animal Humane Society receives a personalized identification tag to wear on their collar.  An ID tag is a simple, affordable identification option that can be the easiest and fastest way for you to be contacted, especially if a missing pet is found by a private citizen.

We recommend that dogs and cats wear a collar and ID tag at all times, even if they never go outdoors. Having an ID tag on your pet is a crucial part of any emergency preparedness plan. If there is an emergency — tornado, fire, break-in, etc. — you may not be able to get your pet to safety. An ID tag will increase your chances of being reunited after the emergency.

Choosing a collar for your pet

We recommend the standard adjustable plastic clip or buckle collar. A study at Ohio State University found that traditional collars are just as safe as breakaway collars and possibly slightly more safe. Some breakaway collars break apart too easily and cause frustration for pets and their people. This makes well-fitting traditional collars the better option. For Greyhounds, Whippets, and other dogs with narrow heads, we recommend a Martingale collar.

We do not recommend choke collars or elastic collars, which tend to stretch over time.

Adjust the collars so that you're be able to get one finger under the collar for cats, two fingers for dogs.

Once a month (once a week for puppies and kittens) check your pet’s collar to ensure it still has the proper fit. If the collar looks like it is getting frayed and may fall apart, drop by Animal Humane Society to purchase a new one.


Microchips can provide an additional level of identification and protection for pets that are lost or stolen – but they are not a substitute for a collar and ID tags.

Microchips can be detected with a handheld device that uses radio waves to read the chip. This device scans the microchip, and then displays a unique alphanumeric code that is registered with the microchip company in the owner’s name.

Shelters, animal control agencies, and most veterinary clinics are equipped with microchip scanners. Keeping the registration current is vital to ensure recovery should your pet go missing. 

We encourage you to make an informed decision about whether to microchip your pet in consultation with your veterinarian, based on an evaluation of your lifestyle and the needs of your pet. A free consultation with participating veterinarians is included with every adoption.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline