How would you feel if your pet accidentally slipped out of your home or yard? What if your pet was stolen from your home or yard? Or you and your pet became separated during a natural disaster? What about being involved in a car accident with your pet?
In all of these situations, there is the potential for your pet to become 'lost.' You hope your pet is still wearing his/her collar and tags. You hope someone sees the signs you've put up around the area. You hope someone turns in a pet matching your pet's description.
You hope. Your pet can't talk and tell someone who they belong to or where they live. But what if there was a way for your pet to be permanently identified as yours?
Microchipping does just that. A pet who is microchipped has a small chip the size of a grain of rice implanted (via injection) under the skin usually between the shoulder blades. This chip has a unique number that is registered to your pet. Shelters and veterinary clinics have special scanners they use to detect if a pet has a microchip. The number reads out on the scanner, and a staff member can call the microchip company to identify the pet and owners. Registration forms typically include a place for the owner's information, the pet's veterinarian, and an alternate contact.
Microchips cannot 'fall out' and they rarely migrate. Microchips last the lifetime of the pet. They have not been shown to cause health concerns or tumors. Any animal, bird, reptile or even fish can be microchipped. Many shelters and pet stores are currently microchiping animals before they leave the facility.
For microchipping to work, there are a few things as pet owners that you need to do. First of all, make sure your contact information is always kept current! If you've just acquired the pet and it's already chipped, be sure to get the microchip information and have the contact person changed to you. Anytime you move, change your phone number, or even change veterinarians, you need to let the microchip company know. Many times we have pets brought in who are microchipped, but the owner has not updated their contact information and therefore is unreachable.
Next, keep your account current with the microchip company. Make sure you have registered your pet! Some people have their pet microchipped then do not register with the company, making it much harder to find the pet owner. Some companies have a lifetime registration fee, while others are yearly or even monthly. Make sure you pay on time.
And finally, let shelters and local veterinarians know your pet is missing and is microchipped. This can be crucial if your pet is found by someone who desires to keep the pet, or if your pet was stolen. Most, if not all, shelters scan pets upon arrival. But not all veterinarians scan new patients unless alerted of a missing pet.
Below are the names & contact information of several microchip companies:
Avid 1(800)336-2843 www.avidid.com
Home Again 1(888)466-3242 www.homeagain.com
24hr PetWatch 1(866)597-2424 www.24petwatch.com
AKC-CAR 1(800)252-7894 www.akccar.org
The following link has some microchip success stories!
If your pet is not currently microchipped, we strongly urge you to consider doing so. It may make the difference in having your missing pet returned to you. It may be the difference between life and death for your pet. Too many animals are euthanized in shelters every year due to over population and crowding. Don't let your pet be one of them!