Identification of dogs, cats and ferrets
In France, dogs, cats and ferrets must be identified to ensure the traceability of the animal. This enables you to prove the animal’s identity when needed and also to prove you are the official owner.
What is identification?
The aim of identification is to assign a unique number to each animal in order to register them in the national file of domestic carnivores, which is managed by I-cad, in France. Two methods of identification are currently recognized by the French authorities:
- Tattoos: these are placed on the outer ear or on the inside of the thigh and consist of a series of numbers and letters. This ID methods concerns animals identified before July 3, 2011.
- Microchips: these are injected under the skin and consist of 15 numbers. The chips can be read using a specially-designed scanner, with which veterinarians are equipped. This method concerns all animals identified after July 3, 2011.
Each registration is linked to the contact details of the animal’s owner. As such, it is essential that the owner updates their contact details, if their telephone number or address changes, so they can be contacted if the animal is lost.
Why should your pet be microchipped?
Beyond the fact that it is mandatory in many countries, identification is extremely important for both you and your pet:
- To travel: in order to cross borders, your dog, cat or ferret must be identified. Do not forget to take your pet’s papers and their up-to-date health record with you when traveling.
- To facilitate searches: if your pet is microchipped, it will be much easier to conduct searches if they get lost. Indeed, this is the only link between you and your pet. An identified animal has a 90% chance of being found, as opposed to only 15% for non-identified animals.
- To sell or adopt a pet, they must be identified beforehand. In France, the identification documents, the veterinary certificate, the certificate of commitment and knowledge and a transfer certificate must be given to the person adopting the animal.
- To protect the animals: identification also acts as a monitoring and protection tool, which helps fight against animal trafficking, theft, etc.
At what age should my pet be microchipped?
It is mandatory to identify your pet:
- Before the age of 4 months for dogs
- Before the age of 7 months for cats and ferrets
Identification is usually done during the first visit to the vet or at the same time as sterilization. Don’t worry, inserting a microchip is quick and painless, and does not require an anesthetic.
If you lose your pet, you can report it:
- In France > on the I-cad website: https://www.i-cad.fr/articles/animal_perdu
- In Europe > on the Europetnet website: https://www.europetnet.com/