June is National Microchipping Month. I am a huge believer in microchips. All of my pets, including every single kitten that comes through rescue, are microchipped. While I’m thankful they have never been necessary, you can never be too safe. Even with the utmost care and vigilance, our beloved pets can sometimes go missing or get lost. That’s why microchipping is crucial in safeguarding their safety and well-being. Here’s how this simple procedure can be a lifesaver in reuniting lost pets with their owners.
What is a microchip?
A microchip is a small, rice-sized device inserted under the skin of your pet, typically between the shoulder blades. The chip contains a unique identification number that can be scanned by a special device. The associated information, such as the pet owner’s contact details, is stored in a secure database. Should a pet become lost or found, the microchip can be scanned to retrieve the owner’s information, facilitating a swift reunion.
Some people prefer to get their pets chipped when they get spayed/neutered so they are under anesthesia, but you don’t have to wait. Atka and Kiska got their chips during a routine vet visit, and neither even flinched.
What are the benefits of microchipping?
- Permanent identification: Unlike collars or tags that can get lost or removed, a microchip provides a permanent form of identification. It is a reliable way to ensure your pet returns home, even if the pet has no visible identification.
- Increased chance of reunion: When a lost pet is found, whether by a concerned citizen or an animal shelter, they can be scanned for a microchip. If a chip is present and registered with accurate owner information, the chances of reuniting the pet with their family increase significantly.
- Quick and stress-free reunions: Microchipping expedites the reunion process. Rather than relying on outdated or incomplete information, it allows for immediate contact with the pet owner, reducing stress and anxiety for everyone involved.
- Proof of ownership: In unfortunate cases of pet theft or disputes over ownership, a microchip serves as indisputable proof. It protects pet owners legally and helps ensure that stolen or lost pets are returned where they belong.
- Promoting responsible pet ownership: Microchipping is a responsible choice for pet owners who genuinely care about their pets’ safety and well-being. It is a very simple step to demonstrate our commitment to being responsible caretakers and truly caring for their well-being.
Are there downsides?
Approximately 1 in 3 dogs will be lost at some point in their life. That is a scary number! Even worse, only 27% of dogs that enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. That number increases to 52% if the dog is microchipped.
Why is the number still so low?
A few problems exist that seem to lower the effectiveness of a microchip. In a study of 2,632 pets, 11 chips failed. Some failed due to improper scanning, matted fur, or excess body fat that made it difficult for the scanner to pick up on the chip. Another issue is that different scanners have been used to detect microchips over the years. The scanners are only able to read chips at a certain frequency. Thankfully, newer universal scanners are being used that detect all frequencies of microchips.
Only 58% of microchips have accurate owner information. Either the owner’s phone number or address has changed, which makes them unable to be reached.
How can you make sure the microchip helps your pet make it home?
- Check your dog’s chip. Take your dog to a local shelter or vet and have them scan the chip to ensure that it works. It’s also a great way to make sure the scanners in your area are universal and can detect your chip.
- Contact your microchip company. Way too many dogs are chipped without owner information. It’s a great idea to contact the microchip company to make sure all of your information is up to date.
I now have my own microchip reader to check the floofs’ microchips occasionally, but I also request that the vet does it when their vaccines are updated. How do you ensure your pet will make it home safely?
Click here for more information regarding microchips.