Your dog is just as much a part of your family as your children so it’s essential that you store comprehensive files covering every aspect of his life, including his health, contact details and where he lives, etc. Licences and medical details must be in his file as well. You should also keep a copy of this entire file with your emergency information kit for your entire family.
If there’s some sort of natural disaster, if your beloved family pet goes missing or, heaven forbid, if something happens to you, the records of your dog are crucial. You’ll need them for pet sitters, your new vet, boarding kennels or an emergency clinic. If you take him with you on a trip overseas, this information will be vital. Some countries have very rigid rules that demand comprehensive records covering every aspect of your pet’s health and history.
If something unforeseen happens and your dog and you are separated for any reason, it’s ironic that it’s sometimes very hard for a human to fully identify his pet. If your pet has been hurt or has experienced some emotional trauma, if he’s being kept in a different place among other dogs, he might not recognise you or bark when you walk by. You need as many possible options for identifying your pet as possible.
Your dog needs a collar tag with his name, your name, mobile phone number and address.
Tattoos and microchips
Your dog must be microchipped. It’s an easy process and choose the most commonly used brand in your location. These are more reliable than tattoos but you can also have a tattoo for extra security and peace of mind. The tattoo should be on your dog’s leg. You must have a photo of the tattoo and also all the records of the IDs you have for your dog.
Store recent digital and printed photos of your beloved pet in his file. Have photos from multiple angles that show his coat colour and type, size of his body, close-up facial shots and any unusual physical marks. It’s also wise, in this digital age, to keep photos on your mobile phone and/or laptop/tablet/iPad as well as the physical copies. Then they’re always handy. In recent years, shelters that exist in disaster regions post lost and found pets online. You can do the same.
PROOF OF OWNERSHIP
Although they feel more like family, pets are actually your property, the same as your jewellery, car, home and other valuables. Your pet can be stolen, lost, injured by somebody else or lost. You must have proof of ownership documentation in case you ever need to go to court.
If you get your new pet from an animal shelter, he’ll have a record of rough age, sterilisation, current vaccinations, personality study and all other relevant information available. You may remember all this when you first get him but five years later, that memory can be rusty, especially if you have more pets and things have changed. Always write down anything that happens to your pet.
If your dog is a purebred from a reputable breeder, you’ll definitely need records of his dam and sire along with medical and inoculation information. If he comes from a breed rescue group, their rules may stop you tracking his parents but you’ll still be given his adoption papers and a spayed certification. If your dog is a genuine show dog, you will need comprehensive records of all parts of his life.
Bill of sale.
It’s unwise to buy a pet from a pet shop. If you are going to do so, the bill of sale and other paperwork will be vital to his future life. If he gets sick once he is home, you may be able to use legal action to force the store owner to cover the costs of treatment. In the worst case scenario, there are some places that let you return a very sick dog and get your money back. However, you need that vital paperwork to do this. This is called the “lemon law.”
Routine medical information.
Keep records of your vet’s name and numbers and your pet’s history of inoculations for rabies and distemper as well as blood profiles and regular check-ups.
You must keep details of the heartworm medication you give your dog. Do you give him other medications? Keep pill bottle labels or boxes so you know what to get in future.
Does your pet have allergies to medications or anything else? Does he have serious medical issues that need treating or regular checking? If he has diabetes, how much insulin does he need? Do you have to give him a special diet? Does he have any herbal remedies or similar to stop motion sickness in the car?
In places where rabies is endemic, there are government bodies that may demand dogs to be immunised. You’ll need to have proof of such inoculations when you first licence your pet and if he travels by air with you. As with any ID tags, the rabies tag or whole collar may disappear. Always keep the issued certificate on file and easy to get to. If he bites somebody, that certificate may literally save his life. The only other method for testing your dog and verifying he doesn’t have rabies is for the vet to test brain tissue. A court would order your pet euthanized so a test could be done if you failed to supply the certificate.
In some areas, there’s an overabundance of dogs. Because of this, some local government bodies may wish to verify that your dog has been de-sexed before giving you a licence. Too many dogs places a burden on taxpayers and affects public health when unwanted pets wander the streets. In America, there are 4-6 million cats and dogs that aren’t able to be housed and have to be euthanised every year.
Your local council demands that you have a licence for your pet. If he escapes and is found by their dog catchers, you will need to produce your paperwork to verify he is yours.
Veterinary insurance policy.
If you have taken out an insurance policy to cover your dog’s medical bills, you’ll need to always have it handy as you never know what can happen and when.
Lots of people put provisions in their wills to care for their pets when they die. You should keep a record of the named person to care for your pet and receive the financial support to do so.
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