Homeward Bound: Why Microchipping Your Pet is so Important
As pet owners, our number one priority is keeping our pets safe. Leashes, fenced yards, and of course a collar and ID tags are just some of the ways we provide the security our pets need to live long, happy lives.
While no pet owner ever intends to become separated from their pet, studies show that over 10 million pets are lost in the U.S. each year, and 1 in 3 pets will become lost at least once during their lifetime. Microchipping your pet provides an added layer of security should your pet go missing and offers the best chance at a happy reunion.
What is a Microchip Anyway?
A microchip is a tiny device (roughly the size of a grain of rice) that’s placed just under your pet’s skin, usually near the shoulder or back of the neck. Microchips do not track your pet’s whereabouts like a GPS – their only purpose is to store a unique ID number that can be used to retrieve your contact information should your pet go missing.
How it Works
Once a missing pet ends up at an animal shelter or veterinary hospital, they’ll be scanned for a microchip. If present, the scanner’s screen will reveal the microchip’s ID number. The shelter or hospital staff can then simply call the microchip company to report the number. The company contacts you directly to inform you of your pet’s whereabouts.
Because microchips rely on radio frequency, which is activated only when scanned, there’s no internal power source used to transmit stored information. Your pet’s microchip will not migrate to other areas of the body, nor will it cause any adverse physical reactions. Microchips do not contain GPS technology, so you nor your pet’s whereabouts will be tracked.
The Next Step
Registering your pet’s microchip is the single most important step in the whole process. You can register the chip online or complete the paperwork provided at the time the chip is implanted. If you change your address or phone number, simply contact the microchip company to update your information.
Why Microchipping Your Pet is a Good Idea
- In a survey of over 7,700 strays living in shelters, it was found that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas those who had been chipped went home 52.2% of the time. Non-microchipped cats were reunited with their families only 1.8% of the time, but those with microchips were returned 38.5% of the time.
- Microchips save lives! Lost pets are at increased risk for illness or injury, and many wind up at veterinary hospitals in need of medical care. Microchips allow us to contact owners directly to secure their approval to begin treatment on their beloved pets (above and beyond basic emergency measures).
- Unlike a collar and ID tags (which are important but can easily fall off or be purposely removed), a microchip stays with your pet always. This permanent form of identification can and has been used many times to settle ownership disputes, ensuring pets are returned to their rightful homes.