For most pet parents, the concept of their precious pet getting lost is a nightmare scenario. Unfortunately, this is a reality for millions of pets each year. Without a microchip, it is extremely difficult for these furry companions to be returned home. Although there are many other forms of pet identification available, such as ID tags and tattoos, microchips are by far the most effective, giving pets a real chance of being returned home once more.
Why Microchip Pets?
Each year, over 10 million cats and dogs are lost in the U.S. alone. The statistics are so high that many agencies estimate that 1 in 3 pets will get lost at some point during their lifetimes.
Of these pets that go missing, the microchipped individuals have the best chance of being reunited with their owners. The difference is staggering: 22% of un-microchipped dogs are returned to their owners while 52% of microchipped pets are reunited with their families.
The statistics are even worse for cats. Less than 2% of non-microchipped cats that wind up in shelters are reunited with their families, while a whopping 38% of microchipped cats find their way home.
In light of these numbers, it is easy to see why microchipping your pets is such a good idea. Should you and your pet ever become separated, a microchip will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that, should your pet be found, she could be returned home.
How Microchips Work
Microchips are not GPS tracing devices and, as such, they cannot tell pet parents exactly where their cat or dog is at any given moment. Instead, microchips can be detected by specialized microchip scanners typically used at veterinary hospitals and animal shelters. Should your pet become lost and wind up in one of these facilities, the staff will scan the animal for a microchip. If one is present, they will look up an animal’s parents according to information logged in the microchip’s web-based database.
How are Microchips Inserted?
Having a pet microchipped is an outpatient procedure. Most microchips are smaller than a grain of rice and are inserted directly beneath the pet’s skin (typically between the animal’s shoulder blades) using a hollow-tip needle.
Keep in mind that once the microchip is inserted, it is the pet parent’s responsibility to update the contact information connected to the chip every time the owner moves or changes phone numbers. Keeping contact information current is an important piece of making the chip as effective as possible.
The Case for Microchipping
Microchipping is a quick, outpatient procedure that keeps pets safe and greatly increases the chance that they will be returned to their owners if lost. Many shelters provide Microchipping at reduced cost in order to make the procedure accessible to all pet owners. With this in mind, it is obvious that Microchipping your pets is a wise decision that can help avoid future heartbreak.
If you come across a lost pet, microchipping can also help you to locate his or her home. Read our article to learn what to do when you find a lost pet.