For some, it may still sound like science fiction, but microchips are here, and they’re standard practice in many places. They vastly increase the likelihood of families being reunited, but it only works if we register, track, and maintain this technology. By adding that tiny microchip to our cat- and canine-companions, we are preparing for the worst and ensuring the best possible outcome, should our fur-baby become lost or stolen. And for those of us who are dog people, check out the Vet Organics Dog Rescuer Apparel.
September is preparedness month, so this is the time of year to promote reminders about the importance of microchipping our pets.
Quick Reference Microchip Facts & Figures
- Microchips don’t replace a tag and collar, but they can make all the difference when it comes to getting our feline friends and canine companions returned to us.
- Dogs who have been microchipped are twice as likely to be identified and reunited with their families.
- Cats who have been microchipped are a whopping 20 times more likely to be reunited with their families.
- Millions of pets have been reunited with their families since microchips were made available.
- Unfortunately, only six out of ten microchips are registered or have accurate information.
- One in three family pets will become lost at some point.
Even with the numbers in support of microchips, it’s voluntary except in some places where it may be required by law to identify pets who have been identified as dangerous.
Microchips are tiny and cylindrical. They’re implanted using a hypodermic needle and are no more noticeable to our pets than vaccines or other infections, like antibiotics. They don’t have a battery, and they are completely sealed in polymer that is designed to be “biocompatible” so chips won’t be rejected by our pet’s bodies. When a scanner, which emits a low-frequency radio signal, is held close enough to the microchip, it will be able to read the unique identification number transmitted through the antenna. The only time the chip is activated, it when it is near a scanner, so it will not interfere with our pet’s health.
Essential To-Do List Regarding Microchip Maintenance
- Cats and Dogs should always be chipped as soon as they are welcomed into the family. Many shelters and rescues will chip pets prior to re-homing them to ensure it’s taken care of.
- Injection isn’t where responsibility ends. We have to register the chip immediately! The registration information will be provided by the adoption clinic, rescue, or shelter.
- We need to keep the number and manufacturer somewhere safe in case of emergency. We can store it with birth certificates and passports or anywhere else we’ll remember to look for it should we need to report our pet missing.
- Log in every year to make sure the information, like phone numbers and addresses, are correct. Even those of us who haven’t moved need to double check. Electronic databases are not error-free, and information can be lost.
- We should always have the vet double check the microchip during our fur-friend’s annual physical. It’s free. It just takes a few seconds. And it can reveal whether there is a chip malfunction. Sometimes chips can slip down the shoulder where vets may not be as likely to scan. If this happens, we can get a new chip placed right where it needs to be to ensure it’s read and our info is available.
- The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has a Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool. It’s linked to all the major microchip manufacturer registries to increase the likelihood of correctly reading the chip, accessing the guardian’s info, and reuniting the family.
Many people still don’t know microchips are available. But chips can save lives when pets are brought to kill shelters. And they reunite millions of families every year. Follow these quick best practices and sleep well knowing, should the worst happen, we have taken precautions to help us quickly get the family back together.