Why Your Pet Needs A Good Identification Photo

Posted on: 3 June 2015


June is National Pet Preparedness Month, and it's a good reminder to have a pet emergency kit in place. Besides a separate carrier, leash and collar, food and water, it's recommended that you have a clear photo of your pet in a safe place that you can easily access.

Surprisingly, many pet owners don't have a good identification photo or photos of their pets. Sure, you've got plenty of Fido chasing a ball at the beach or Fluffy curled up on your windowsill. But an ID photo has some specifications that make it worthwhile to take one or more special images just for that purpose.

Why Do You Need a Pet ID Photo?

There are a number of reasons why one or more clear photos of your pet would be necessary.

  1. Lost pet. If your pet goes missing, you want an image and information that can be used on a flyer and in a report for your local animal control facility. Too often, people have to rely on a distant or blurry shot of their pet, when it would make finding and identifying your pet much easier for both your neighborhood and your animal control facility staff.
  2. Emergency. If you do need to evacuate your home, perhaps due to a fire or flood, you may need to have proof that your pet is yours when you get him or her settled in a shelter. Most Red Cross and other evacuation shelters are for humans only, but more and more communities are setting up emergency animal shelters as needed, too.
  3. Stolen pet. If someone takes your pet, having proof that the animal is yours that can quickly be provided to law enforcement may come in handy. It's a great idea to have a clear set of pictures that show you and each family member with the pet, so there is no question who the owner is.

What Makes a Good Pet ID Photo?

Just like a human identification picture, you want to have a clear, well-lit image of your pet's face. Ideally, you should have these photos:

  • Face
  • Left side of body
  • Right side of body
  • Tail
  • Any distinguishing marks or fur coloring

You want people who might be looking for your pet to be able to see exactly what he or she looks like. The pictures should be clear and well lit. You also want to make sure you have at least two sets of printed photos, one in your files and one in your emergency evacuation kit.

What Other Photos and Records Should You Have?

As mentioned, it's helpful to have a photo of you and your pet should you ever need to prove ownership.

You also want to keep a written record of your pet's appearance, which details fur color, variations, birthmarks and other identifying characteristics. Include microchip number and your veterinarian's contact information.

Finally, have a copy of all immunization records for your pet that you store with your identification photos in your emergency kit. If you need to leave quickly, you have proof that your pet can safely stay with other animals, such as in an emergency shelter.

To take further precautions that you and your pet will be reunited in an emergency, or to prove that your pet belongs to you, make sure he or she always has a collar or harness with a tag that has your cell phone number on it, and that your pet is microchipped. To find out more, contact a business like Abri Animal Hospital.