My dogs and cats are all very important to me, and I don’t know what I would do if one of them went missing. When I let my dogs into the backyard for the first time after there’s been a storm, I catch myself rushing back to the door thirty seconds later wondering if a tree may have fallen down and put a hole in my fence for the dogs to escape through! Accidents like this happen every day. This is why microchipping our pets, along with other forms of identification, is so important. A microchip can really increase the chances of having our lost dog or cat returned to us if someone is kind enough to stop and help them.
August 15th is National Check the Chip Day. This holiday was created by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) to remind pet owners to keep their pets’ microchip information current to help more lost pets find their way back home. Let’s take the time today to make sure that our pets can find their way home if they are ever lost.
What is a Microchip?
Of course, our pets’ collars and tags should be the first line of defense if someone finds our dog wandering the neighborhood, but sometimes collars fall off or the tags become worn and illegible. I know I find my cats’ breakaway collars on the floor sometimes inside my house for no noticeable reason. This is where a microchip really comes in handy!
A microchip is a small and safe chip injected between your pet’s shoulder blades. It is no more painful that your dog’s regular vaccinations. It can be injected while your dog is in for a regular vet check-up, or you can schedule a special appointment or attend clinics at some of your local Hollywood Feed stores.
Once your pet is injected with this chip, anyone who has a chip scanning wand can run that wand over your pet’s shoulder blades, find out your pet’s microchip information and then match it with the information you entered with the microchip manufacturer by searching a national database. The main database used by humane societies and veterinary clinics is the Universal Pet Michrochip Lookup Tool which links to most of the microchip registries out there-but not all of them. Make sure you keep track of your pet’s microchip information!
Most veterinary clinics, animal shelters and humane societies will have at least one wand in their office, but it wouldn’t hurt to call first if you have found a lost pet. If you have found a lost dog or cat and need more help on how to locate the owner, check out my blog: I Found A Lost Dog, Now What?
According to the AVMA, a study of 7700 stray animals showed that cats and dogs without microchips made their way home 1.8% and 21.9% of the time, respectively; while cats and dogs with microchips made their way home 38.5% and 52.2% of the time. And the animals with microchips who did not make it home mainly had outdated microchip registry information.
This is why Check the Chip Day is so important! It really does make a huge difference in the likelihood of your pet being returned home to you instead of being put in a shelter or running the streets to face an unknown fate.
So Get Microchipped Already!
If you have been thinking about getting your pet microchipped, then make today the day you call to schedule your appointment!
Immediately after your pet has been microchipped, make sure to get on a computer and go through the registration process. Then keep your paperwork in a safe place like a file cabinet with your pet’s other medical records so you can easily locate it again in the future when you want to update the information.
Keep Information Current
If your pet is already microchipped, then take today to make sure that your information is up to date. Have you moved, gotten a new phone number, or broken up with an old boyfriend since your pet was microchipped? Then there’s probably information that needs to be changed!
You will need to check with the manufacturer of your pet’s microchip to update the information. You can check the original registration paperwork you put away safely for instructions, or you can search in the Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool if you have the ID number associated with your pet’s microchip. If you do not have this number, or if you are unsure whether your pet has been microchipped, you can take your dog or cat into your local shelter or veterinary office to have him scanned.
Remember that your pet’s microchip will only work if you keep the information up to date in the database!
Check out more information on preventing lost pets HERE.