Don't wait until your dog is lost to think of ways to identify her well enough to get her back from a finder who doesn't want to return her. It's difficult for the courts to decide in a he-said-she-said situation, so using a few easy, affordable methods will help demonstrate your proof of ownership of a dog. These methods will help you get your pet back if you are ever separated so you can be reunited more quickly.
Get a DNA test
Dog DNA tests are inexpensive and you can have them done through the mail. You can order a dog DNA test online and you'll receive a kit that includes a cheek swab, test tube, and mailer. You'll get information about your dog's breed (which might surprise you), but the company will also have a record of your dog's DNA that you can use to identify her if she's ever stolen or found by someone who doesn't want to give her back.
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Have the dog microchipped
Many pets are euthanized each year because animal control departments and animal shelters can't ID the dog. One of the first things almost all animal shelters do today when they find a lost dog or cat is to scan the pet for a microchip. If your dog is chipped, the chip will show the scanner the information needed to get in touch with the registry for the chip.
The person scanning will contact that registry service, and the service will contact you to tell you your dog has been found. Talk to your vet about having your dog microchipped. It's an easy process (like getting a shot) that places the chip under the dog's skin near the shoulder blade.
Have your dog photographed
Many dogs have unique markings somewhere on their bodies. If you can photograph your dog, including taking closeups of any unique fur or skin markings, you can use this to help prove your ownership of the dog. Take at least one or two pictures with a tag or sign showing your dog's name and the name of the owner(s), and one picture with you.
Use medical records
You might be able to use your dog's medical records to prove your ownership. If your dog has ever had a broken bone, see if your vet has x-rays. New x-rays on your pet might prove that the dog has the exact break in the exact area. If your dog has any surgical scars, make sure you photograph them and keep them in your records box.
Your pet's vet file might contain other helpful information such as the dog's blood type, exact height, length, scars, or other conditions. If the dog was on medication and has only been missing for a day or two, a urine test might show the medicine still in his blood. A medical file might also contain a list of any conditions or diseases, such as cognitive dysfunction syndrome or arthritis, that match what the dog in question has.
Other ways to ID a dog
Make sure your dog is registered locally with your town. Even if it's not mandatory, call and ask if you can get your dog registered. This will prove that you at least owned a dog that matches the one in question. Keep your adoption or purchase papers.
Ask the seller or shelter to add as much identifying information about the dog as possible to your papers. Someone who is trying to steal your dog will likely take her tags off, but it can't hurt to have a tag for your dog that is up to date and has your contact information on it.