Why? 10 Million lost and stolen animals each year, that’s why!
We’ve all seen scared and lost animals out on the street, read desperate posts about lost animals and heard stories about broken-hearted pet parents who somehow lost track of a precious companion animal and would give anything to find them. Knowing that your baby could slip out of the house or yard, get separated from you or your pet sitter, or take off in terror during a thunder storm or in response to fireworks should be incentive enough to immediately microchip her. We each think we would never lose track of our four-legged companions but, according the American Humane Association, over 10 million companion animals are lost or stolen EVERY YEAR.
A 2009 article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reviewed statistics from 53 shelters around the country and concluded that microchips significantly increased the likelihood that a lost animal would be returned to his family. While only 22% of lost dogs entering a shelter were returned to their families, that percentage went up to 52% for lost dogs who were microchipped. Sadly, only 2% of non-microchipped lost cats entering a shelter were reunited with their families but 38% of microchipped lost cats were reunited with their families.
So! Until our companion animals develop opposable thumbs and are able to use a cell phone to call home, your best bet for reuniting with your missing baby is to microchip her. Read on for all the information you will need about the process and about registering the chip.
How does the microchip process work? Does it hurt??
“Easy-peasy” and “no” are the answers to these questions. Specifically, a microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice. Your vet will use a normal syringe to insert the microchip right under your cat’s or dog’s skin between the shoulder blades. There is a very good video explaining and demonstrating the whole procedure below.
Note that microchips are not GPS tracking devices. They only transmit the pet’s ID number which is stored on the microchip to scanning devices used to find out if the animal has a microchip and whether it has a current registration (more on the importance of registration below). Once implanted, the microchip will last the lifetime of your pet without the need to charge anything, replace it or do anything at all after you have registered the chip.
Do it Yourself – or at least buy the microchip kit yourself.
You can even buy your own microchip kit and take it to your vet to implant the chip into your pet. Check with your vet to see what the charge is if your vet supplies the chip and then decide if you want to buy your own and take it to your vet. Some animal shelter and Humane Societies also provide low-cost microchip services so check your local recourses. If you do decide to buy the microchip kit and take it to your vet, here are some options, along with reviews:
- HomeAgain Microchip Implant Kit
- Pro ID Mini Pet Microchip
- SmartTag ISO Microchip Box with Identification Tag for Pets
Registries: That microchip won’t do you – or your baby – any good unless you register it!
Now that you have done the hard part and gotten your precious pooch or kittie microchipped, make sure you register the chip and your CURRENT contact information. If you move or change your phone number, make sure to go back into the registry and update your information.
When your private vet or the vet at the shelter or Humane Society inserts the microchip, they will either complete the initial registration for you or provide you with the website log in information to complete the registration yourself. Registration should not cost you anything and there are many free microchip registries available, as well as microchip look-up or location services if you find a lost animal with a microchip. Some of the registries include the following:
There are many more registration options but this should get you started!
We want to hear from you – has a microchip helped reunite you with your animal?
Please go to the Onpets FB page and answer the microchip poll questions. We will aggregate the information we receive and post your answers.
Also let us know about anything else you do to make sure your babies get home safely to you in the event they get lost.
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