It is estimated that over 10 million pets are reported missing in the United States annually and it is also reported that a family pet is lost every two seconds! Sadly, many of these pets are never found and returned to their owners simply because they lack proper identification.
The only way to ensure your pet is permanently and correctly identified is with a microchip that is registered with up-to-date contact information for you and other immediate family members. Many people are unfamiliar with how a microchip works, how it is implanted, and why it is an important part of their pet’s health. We will address those concerns in this post.
What is a microchip?
- A microchip is a tiny (grain of rice-sized) RFID chip that when scanned provides the shelter, vet, or animal control officer with your pet’s unique ID number. A microchip is NOT a GPS locator. (Those collars are available here.)
How does a microchip work?
- A microchip is inserted in the loose skin between your pet’s shoulder blades via injection just like a routine vaccine. In addition, at our hospitals we numb the area with a local anesthetic before injecting the chip for your pet’s added comfort.
- Once implanted the chip can be scanned by anyone with a scanner. All animal shelters, veterinarians, and animal control officers have microchip scanners.
- We can identify your pet by their unique ID number no matter who manufactured the chip OR the scanner. All chips and scanners in the United States are universal; however, some foreign chips are unreadable by the scanners in the US.
- Once the chip number is obtained and the company identified we simply call the chip manufacturer and give them the number. As long as your information is current with the company we can then contact you and return your pet safely home!
Why microchip my pet if he or she already wears a collar with a tag?
- Collars are not permanent. They can easily break or fall off your pet, especially in a situation where they have run away and may be in unknown territory. Another added benefit of a microchip is that it provides authorities with unequivocal proof that you are the owner of your pet in the event that he or she is stolen. (Though pet theft is rare it is on the rise in many major cities and the surrounding areas.)
Important things to remember about microchips:
- Register your microchip immediately and keep all information associated with the chip current so you can be contacted when your pet is missing. Also, update the information if your pet must live with another family for whatever reason.
- Many pets adopted from shelters have chips already implanted. Be sure to get all information from the shelter so that the pet may be registered to you.
- Even if your pet is chipped keep a collar and tag on him or her at all times. This increases the chances of a lost pet returning home.
At Lifetime Pet Centers we implant HomeAgain brand microchips. The chip can be implanted at any time, but many of our clients choose to have it done during their pet’s spay or neuter.
If you are interested in this procedure for your pet or if you have any additional questions contact us at either office by phone or email Sarah.
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