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August 11, 2010

Oy! Last Thursday, Ginko finished taking his post-op antibiotics. And, based on the outcome of his surgical cultures, we hoped that would be enough. But … nope! By mid-day Saturday, his surgery knee produced a swollen/squishy spot about the size of a marble. The infection is back.

The scheduled appointment Monday morning to remove his staples went otherwise. The veterinarians didn’t want to pull staples, until we beat back the infection more. So, he’s on another 10 days of antibiotics (a different one, three times a day). They’ll attempt staple removal again on Thursday.

Unfortunately, this work week is already compromised and complicated for other reasons, so we’ll be sending the boys down the mountain alone. It should be interesting.

My Naked Boy

We’ve let Ginko go naked since his surgery. Naked … as in … no collar.

That’s a rarity around here. Because of my prior work in the sheltering world, I’m a bit of a collar and tag fanatic.

Yep. I’m the girl who sees a dog or a cat in a TV or magazine ad and has a fit if the pet isn’t wearing a collar and tag.

It’s all about setting a good example, setting norms, setting expectations.

Now, I have friends … particularly in the performance dog world … whose dogs do NOT wear collars. And, to me, theyve always look naked.


In addition to wearing collars and tags, both of my dogs are microchipped. And, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s a GOOD idea to double-check your microchip registry at least once a year … because I’ve found errors in ours over the years.

Personally, I’m big on microchips as insurance against collars and tags getting lost or damaged if the pet gets loose. Permanent, embedded ID sounds good to me.

There are problems with chips, though. Like that your average person (me!) doesn’t have a microchip scanner on hand, which makes a good collar and tag so helpful.

Some folks worry about microchips and cancer, too. That’s not one of the things that concerns me (too much), but there you go.

Liking the Look

So, because Ginko has had to wear his Bite-Not Collar during his recovery, we took off his regular collar to prevent bunching and bulk around his neck.

And, I’ve got to say … I like the naked look on him.

Thanks to the greyhound mixed in there, Ginko has a BIG neck and a smallish head, which means he has to wear his collar practically right behind his ears. It looks a bit weird.

So, this o’ naturale look grew on me, but the collar is back on now … because I truly believe it’s best … which brings us to this —->

Dog Tag Giveaway

The nice people at Rover in Clover Designer Dog Tags recently offered to make and give Lilly a new tag, but the truth is that Lilly doesn’t need one.

SO, I asked if they would instead GIVE ONE AWAY. Yippee!!!

dog tag photoAlphabet Dog ID Tag: One side features a big BOLD initial, and on the other side, they’ll engrave your pet’s name and your phone number.

How to Enter:

So, this little blog giveaway will once again use a random drawing of those who comment on this post before midnight (MDT), Sunday, August 15, 2010.

Yep. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post, even if it’s just to say, “Boy, I hope I win!”

For shipping simplicity, I’m sorry to say that we have to limit this contest to pet parents who live in the continental United States.

I will alert the winner via email on Monday, August 16, 2010, so be sure you carefully type your email in the comment form.  I’ll have the winner send me the info to be engraved and mailing address privately so that I can pass it along to the Rover in Clover Designer Dog Tags folks.

About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

  1. Great post, Roxanne! I am a huge proponent of collars, tags, and chips (although I, too, am a fan of the way our dog looks after we bathe him and he’s running around the house naked; my husband and I tend to yell “naked puppy!” to goad Healey into zooming faster to help dry himself off).

    I also agree that it’s best to have tags and chips working together. The simplest way to ensure that a lost dog (or cat) gets back to its owner is to have a tag that’s got at least the owner’s phone number and preferably also his or her address. If, however, the tags have come off, a chip may prevent a pet from being euthanized at a shelter. Most of the stories you hear about in the media that have to do with pets being reunited with their owners after months or years are because the animal was chipped.

    Regarding chips and cancer, if I remember correctly from when I was researching an article a few years back, only *two* dogs have ever gotten cancer that was suspected to be related to their chip. My dog’s part beagle and an escape artist, so the minute chance that he might get cancer from a microchip didn’t remotely dissuade me from getting him chipped.

    And Roxanne, I really hope Ginko starts getting better soon!

  2. Have you ever thought about a martingale for your dog? You said you don’t like how high the collar has to be on Ginko, but a martingale is designed for greyhounds so they can’t slip out. I personally like the naked look too but am too freaked that they might escape and some idiot wont bother checking for their microchip.

    1. Yes, Laura, we actually do have some martingale-style collar/leash combos that I can use on Ginko. The design isn’t perfect , so I rarely use it.

  3. I am a collar fanatic, too, but in a very different way. My dogs all wear Break Away collars. Several years ago, Rusty’s lower jaw got caught in Natasha’s collar while they were playing. I was right there, but it still long painful seconds for me to separate them (fearing a broken jaw for Rusty and Natasha nearly passed out from lack of air). I researched that night and discovered how many dogs choke to death because their collars get caught on something. A fellow blogger lost their dog a few months ago (collar caught on fence) and my mother found Tartok’s break away collar caught on a tree root just last week.

    Obviously, you run the risk of the dog and the collar become separated while the dog is loose, but microchips are a back-up plan to that. Just food for thought.

    1. You’re right, DK and Dog-Geek. I have heard of dogs getting into trouble like the scenarios you mention. In all my years with dogs, I’ve only had one weird incident when one dog got his foot caught in the other dog’s collar. He was frustrated that he was stuck. She was frustrated that he seemed permanently attached to her head. We got them unhooked before anything bad happened.

  4. I wish the best for Ginko, get well soon. I have a cat that has an infection in his paws. They are doing a culture now. It could be something with his immune system. Hopefully we will find out soon.
    I totally believe in tags. There are so many lost pets out there that don’t have ID and I’ve brought some home and found homes for them.
    I would love to win the tag. Best wishes, Carol.

  5. I agree that tags are incredibly important. I’ve picked up multiple stray dogs that have a collar on but not a tag. I could have returned these lost dogs within minutes but instead it was quite a long time before the owner could be tracked down. Microchip + tags seems to be best.

  6. My dogs wear collars and tags whenever we go anywhere in the car or go hiking (even on our own property) but they go naked in the house or in the fenced yard for safety reasons. I once had a dog who like to lie on the air-conditioning vents, and her tags went between the slats in the vent and got stuck. The dog panicked and almost certainly would have done herself some damage if I hadn’t been right there. Another time, one of my dogs got their tags stuck in the vent of a Vari-kennel. Again, I shudder to think what could have happened if I hadn’t been there to assist. And years ago a close friend of mine nearly lost one of her dogs when her two dogs were wrestling, and one got their jaw twisted in the other one’s collar. By the time they were able to get the dogs apart, one dog had nearly strangled to death. So no collars/tags for us when dogs are lounging in the house or playing with each other in the yard!

  7. I’m a huge naked neck fan. Kona has a certain undomesticated look to her and she looks even more wild dog-ish without her collar. She’s never naked for more than a few minutes at a time because I’d like to think tags help a dog get home.

    A side thought: I always keep Kona’s collar loose enough for her to slip out of should she get hung up on something. But, I also know that she would slip out of it in a heartbeat if someone tried to grab her…there would go those important tags. Anyone mill over this with their dog’s collar? (Perhaps Kona’s just prone to mischief?)

  8. Get those microchips checked, folks!

    They *can* fail, it has happened to one of mine. Luckily the company was great, paid for x-rays to determine if the chip was indeed still where it was supposed to be (it was, just wasn’t working anymore), and paid for the new chip and the cost of the vet visit to have all of that done. Plus they linked the two different numbers (new and old) in their database, so if the old chip does randomly start working, either number in the database will point to me.

    In all the years of microchipping, my vet says my dog is the first she’s ever heard of with a failed chip (it worked for 4 years before failing!), but believe me, she now makes sure to check each microchipped dog at every exam!!! Make sure your vet does so too!!

    1. Oh, wow … Kim. I hadn’t thought of that. I think veterinarians SHOULD scan chipped pets during their wellness exams, just to be sure the chip is still working.

  9. Excellent blog, Roxanne! I am also a supporter of microchips AND collars WITH tags that clearly display — not worn down or worn off — phone numbers of the owners. Even an up-to-date rabies tag with the current Vet listed is helpful.

    Over the years I have found so many lost dogs that I could have driven right to their home if they only had been wearing a tag. (Shelters and Vets should have scanners that can also read a microchip if a tag has been stolen or lost.)

    Hope Ginko heals quickly!

    1. I’m with you on that, Penny. I actually think tags should include addresses too. Especially in communities like ours, it’s good to know where the dog lives.

      While traveling, though, I like to have a tag with just a name/cell # … since people might call the home number and we wouldn’t be there.

  10. I am a collar and tag fanatic as well. It just doesn’t make sense to me not to be.

    I also have always had all my animals chipped, and will continue to do so. The risk of cancer is so minimal, its worth it to me. I’ve been chipping my dogs (and cats even though they are indoors!) for 30 years now…not one has had a chip move.

    Murphydog’s Mom

  11. I agree, tags and collars are super important! Sorry, I cannot chip, there too many diff systems, and the chips sometimes move around inside the dog. And then there is that cancer issue.
    The tags on all 3 of our adopted dogs are pretty beat up, sure would be happy to win a new one! Thanks for the opportunity!
    Get all-the-way-well soon Ginko!

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