May is ‘Chip Your Pet ’Month!
Spring is here, and likely you and your pets are becoming more active outside. You’re roaming farther afield with your pup, and your cat who has dozed on the couch all winter is showing an interest in the backyard. It’s a great time to talk about microchipping your pet.
Millions of pets stray or are stolen every year, and a large percentage are never reunited with their owners, simply because those owners can’t be identified or located.
What is Microchipping for Pets?
Pet microchips are tiny chips, about the size of a grain of rice. We inject the chip just under your pet’s skin, usually in the shoulder area. Often we do this when your dog or cat is under anesthetic to be spayed or neutered, but anesthesia isn’t necessary and it can be done at any time. Each chip has a special registry number encoded on it which corresponds to your name and contact information in a pet registry. Most veterinarians and shelters have a handheld reader which can scan the chip of a lost pet, allowing us to contact the registry and get the owner’s contact information so we can reunite owner and pet.
What a Microchip Isn’t
It isn’t a GPS chip. We can’t track or locate your pet. However, if your pet turns up at a shelter or another veterinarian, they will be able to contact you and return your pet to your family.
Five Things to Know About Microchipping Your Pet
- A collar and tags are a great way for your pet to be identified, but they can break or fall off, leaving your pet unidentified. A microchip is permanent and won’t be separated from your pet.
A microchip greatly increases the likelihood that your pet will be returned to you if it is lost.
A recent study has shown that without a chip, dogs were reunited with their owners 21.9 percent of the time. Dogs with a microchip were returned 52.2 percent of the time. For cats, the benefit of micrchipping is even clearer: Only 1.8 percent of non-microchipped cats are reunited with their owners, while 38.5 percent of microchipped cats were successfully returned to their families.
Your chip must be registered.
One of the most common reasons that pets with microchips aren’t reunited with their owners is that the owners either never registered the chip, or didn’t keep the contact information current. When we microchip your pet, we send you home with the information about how to register your pet. You must to give your name and contact numbers to the registry, and to keep that information up-to-date.
- In the case of a stolen pet, the chip may be used to help establish your ownership.
- Pet Microchips are RFID chips. Like any technology, they can fail, although this is unusual. Have your veterinarian scan your pet’s chip at your annual visit to make sure it’s functioning properly.