Nothing is more heartbreaking than realizing that your beloved furry friend has gone missing. Even passing by a “missing dog” poster on the street is enough to tug at a pet owner’s heartstrings. This year alone, 8 million pets will end up in an animal shelter. Many of these pets have been lost or separated from their owners, and only a fraction of dogs and cats are ever reclaimed.
The easiest way to prevent this tragedy is to get your pet microchipped. A microchip is a small electronic device, no larger than a grain of rice, that is inserted just underneath your pet’s skin. This process is quick, painless, and affordable. Each microchip has a unique serial number that can be identified using a microchip scanner. Most veterinarian offices and animal shelters have these scanners, which can be used to identify a lost pet and their owner. If you haven’t gotten your pets microchipped yet, here are 5 reasons to do so.
Microchips are permanent identification systems.
Collars and other ID tags can help identify your missing pet. However, collars can break off or fall off, and ID tags can become illegible and outdated after a couple of months. Many missing dogs and cats also slip away completely collar-less. Wearable collars and tags are unreliable. Microchips, on the other hand, are a permanent form of identification. Once inserted, a single microchip can last a lifetime. It requires no batteries or external devices. Furthermore, because it is implanted directly into your pet, there’s no worry of the microchip accidentally falling off or wearing out. Even if your pet runs away without a collar, they will still carry their microchip with them. However, a microchip is not a GPS; it will not track your pet’s exact location. So even if your pet is microchipped, they should still wear a collar every time they are taken into an outdoor or public area.
Microchips are connected to a national database.
When you microchip your pet, the animal is registered into a searchable, nation-wide database. Usually, their chip number is also connected with information like your name, email, phone number, and home address. Thus, no matter where your missing pet turns up—even if they show up in another state—as long as an animal hospital or shelter can scan your pet’s microchip, they can access your contact information and reunite you with your beloved friend.
If your pet has been microchipped, be sure to keep the microchip information up to date. For example, you should always notify the microchip database if you move homes, or if your pet switches owners.
Microchips can contain life-saving medical information about your pet.
Along with your contact information, a microchip can also contain important information about how to care for your specific animal. This is especially important for cats and dogs with a long medical history, who need daily medications in order to stay healthy. Microchipping your pet ensures that animal shelter employees can still give your pet the proper care and medication it needs while they are trying to get in contact with you.
Microchipping can help relieve rescue centers from overpopulation.
Rescue centers are always overflowing with animals who have been tragically separated from their owners. More than 1 million shelter animals are euthanized every year. If every pet owner had their animals microchipped, then rescue centers could quickly reunite pets with their proper owners, reducing the amount of pets each center would have to manage.
Microchips are scientifically proven to increase your chances of finding your lost pet.
Although posting flyers and making social media announcements can raise awareness about your missing pet, these methods are not necessarily successful. However, a 2009 study of more than 7,000 stray animals demonstrates that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners just 2% of the time. Microchipped dogs, on the other hand, were returned more than 50% of the time!
How Does a Pet Microchip Work?
One of the best things about pet microchips is that they’re simple to install on your pet and they’re perfectly safe. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and it stores a unique ID number that is exclusive to your pet. The chip itself is made of a bioglass containing a few very small components and some come with anti-migration components that prevent it from moving around beneath your pet’s skin.
When you pass over your pet’s skin with a microchip scanner you’ll hear a faint radio frequency signal. This is the device reading the ID code and retrieving the information from the pet recovery database.
Keep in mind that there are a variety of different frequencies based on when your pet was originally chipped. Up until 2004, the global standard was a 125kHz chip but since then, the 134kHz chip has become the most common.
Virtually all shelters and clinics across the country have scanners that should be able to pick up on microchips of varying frequencies. Just because you may have an outdated chip doesn’t mean that your scanner won’t be able to pick it up.
If you do not currently have a pet microchip for your canine or feline, your veterinarian can counsel you on which one would be the best option for your pet.
It’s also important to remember that the microchip only provides a number so having accurate data is critical. Having proper owner information linked with that chip could be the difference between you finding your lost pet or not.
In fact, a study showed that out of all the parents who microchipped their pets, only 58 percent of them proceeded with the online registration of their contact information. That means that 42 percent of pets will likely not make it back home because the shelter or clinic that found the pet will not know who to contact.
How to Register a Pet Microchip?
If you’re unsure about how to register a pet microchip, no need to worry because the process is extremely easy. Your pet’s ID number is the only way to identify them via the microchip. If your contact information isn’t linked with that ID number, it will make it much harder for someone to track you down.
You can register your microchip online or call 800-252-7894. This is a free 24/7 service available from the American Kennel Club. When you call, you’ll speak to an expert who will walk you through the registration process. If you’ve lost a pet, this number will also help you locate them. Be sure to keep all this information up to date if you move as well.
Using this service allows you to enroll pets with any brand of microchip. Remember that getting the microchip is important for tracking down your pet in case they get lost. But, not having accurate and up-to-date contact information could slow down the process or make it impossible. Make the call today or proceed with the online registration.