You may have heard of people microchipping their pets, but have you microchipped your own? According to recent studies, over 10 million cats and dogs in the U.S. are reported lost or stolen every year. One in three pets will get lost during their lifetime, and 9 out of 10 don’t return home. Should your pet become lost, it is crucial that he have proper identification to increase the chances of him being returned to you.
Though collars and ID tags can be helpful, they aren’t always a reliable form of identification since they can easily fall off or become hard to read over time, leaving your beloved pet among the other unidentified lost strays at shelters. This can easily be prevented by the use of microchips.
Common reasons pets get lost
Many pets become lost because they escape from the yard or run outside when a door opens. This is especially true during holidays where loud noises, social gatherings, and unfamiliar faces are common. Even during thunderstorms, many pets can become frightened and run away during these situations in an attempt to escape the noise.
Other common instances where pets go missing include emergencies such as house fires and automobile accidents. A pet who has a microchip is much more likely to make it back home than one without this identification.
What is a microchip?
A microchip is actually a very advanced piece of technology. Microchips are radio-frequency identification transponders encased in a small amount of bioglass and injected under the skin. These microchips are incredibly tiny, no larger than a grain of rice, and are encoded with identification numbers that can help you reunite with your pet should he become lost.
Animal shelters and veterinary hospitals usually carry various scanners that will read most microchips. At many veterinary and shelter facilities, it is standard practice to scan every new animal to see if the pet has a microchip. This helps ensure a lost pet is returned to his or her owner. It is important to note that this is standard practice for most facilities in the United States, but if you travel to another country, you should be aware that their scanners might not be able to read your microchip. Talk with your veterinarian if you plan to be traveling to discuss alternative ways to equip your pet with the proper identification.
Register and Update
It is important to note that a microchip will only be effective if it is registered and contains up-to-date contact information. When you microchip your pet, the vet will give you information to register the microchip with a nationwide registry. You will then be asked to register the microchip and include your most up-to-date contact information. If you do not register and input your information, the microchip is essentially useless as the microchip will not be connected with information to help your pet be returned to you. If your information changes, be sure to update your pet’s profile immediately.
What if I lose the information about my pet’s microchip?
It is important to note that we do not recommend putting in another microchip as the frequencies could interfere. If you lose the information associated with your pet’s microchip, simply let us know. We can scan your pet’s microchip and assist you with getting the information you need to update your pet’s records.
Can a microchip help to track my pet if they become lost?
No. A microchip is not a GPS device that can track your pet if they become lost. It is only used to provide an identification number encoded with your contact information. Pet parents should not be concerned about their privacy as the scanner is only used in the event that your pet is found without you and will only contain the contact information you choose to provide.
Though equally important, a microchip does not replace a collar and ID tag. Instead, a microchip provides your pet with permanent identification should he become separated from you. Microchips help to return thousands of pets home. To learn more about microchipping or to schedule an appointment, please contact our Muir Oaks Veterinary Hospital office.