Q: We recently purchased a purebred Dalmatian that my husband and I are planning to show and eventually use for breeding. He is only 7 weeks old and has had a health exam by a veterinarian, along with his first vaccinations. Is there any way that we can positively identify this dog in case he gets lost or stolen? I have heard of having dogs tattooed, but I don't know where to get this done. What do you suggest as a means of identifying this puppy?
Beverly Archer, Los Alamitos
A: There are several methods of identification available to help positively identify your dog. Many veterinarians have small tattoo units and would be able to put some form of letters or numbers on your dog as a means of identification. Many people use their California driver's license number or the dog's AKC number and have it tattooed on the inside of the thigh. Some prefer initials on the inside of an ear flap. Either method is fine but should be done in such a manner as not to be visible in the show ring. In most cases, sedation or anesthesia is required to perform the procedure.
Some people prefer to take detailed photographs of their dogs, especially if there are any particular outstanding features or markings. This is always a good idea even if the pet is tattooed. Photographs can be used on notices when looking for a stray or stolen pet, as well as when advertising for breeding. Be sure to keep the pictures current as your dog matures.