Everything You Need to Know About Microchipping Your Dog and Forgot to Ask
The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lots or stolen in the U.S. every year. That is one in three pets! There are multiple ways to get your dog back, including: collar tags, tracking devices, and microchips. Today, let’s focus on microchips.
What is a microchip?
A microchip is an ID for your pet. It is the size of a grain of rice and goes beneath the skin in the neck scruff. If your pet gets lost, a good Samaritan can take them to a vet or shelter to check for this microchip and get your buddy back home! The cost is usually $25-50 depending on your veterinarian, and the longevity is over 20 years.
Why a microchip?
The return rate for lost dogs who enter shelters is only 22%; however, the return rate for microchipped dogs is over 52! While dogs might lose their collars and tags, or if stolen, the thief can remove them, a microchip cannot be removed and you can prove your dog is yours. Also, these days, there are also other cool options such as pet doors that recognize your dog’s chip and let them in (but not the possum). They are not, however, tracking devices.
How does a microchip work?
Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip. A handheld scanner reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information. An animal shelter or veterinarian who finds your pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number, and reunite you both.
Updating the information
Be sure that if you have any changes to your phone number, ownership, and/or address that you contact the registration provider.
How to microchip your pet
Make an appointment with your vet today! It will give you peace of mind in case your pet does get lost.
Recently, we reached out to our good friend Dr. Danford at Raleigh Community Animal Hospital to ask them about microchipping and she was very helpful:
I’m passionate about microchips because microchips help keep families together.
The American Humane Association estimates that over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the United States every year. Sadly, of those 10 million, only 2 million are reunited with their families.
Losing your pet can be a traumatic and often times a tragic event.
When adopting a pet, the joy of that new collar and id tag is unspeakable, yet collars and id tags are not foolproof – they can fall off, pop off, get taken off, and your pet can still be lost with the greatest of intentions.
As a practicing veterinarian of the past (almost) 25 years, I have seen this sad scenario replay too many times. I get the emails of the lost-pet-flyer, the family of the lost pet stop by the hospital, and the caring individuals who find a pet on the streets and stop by the hospital to ask if we recognize the pet. Sadly, there are few happy reunions that I can speak of; however, if that pet had been MICROCHIPPED, the outcome would have been far happier.
A microchip is an implantable computer chip, encoded with a unique identification number. No bigger than a grain of rice and implanted under your pet’s skin like any routine vaccine, a microchip offers a secure, reliable, unique, and permanent identification for that moment no one wants to happen. A microchip is not a GPS tracking device and is useless if not registered and kept with up-to-date contact information. But when utilized as designed, studies show that dogs that are MICROCHIPPED are 3 times more likely to be reunited with their families than those that are not; and cats are 20 times more likely to be reunited.
I do recommend that your pet wears a collar with proper identification. Having a microchip does not replace tags; however, a microchip is your best advantage when your pet is lost. Microchips last a lifetime, and almost every shelter and veterinary clinic in the United States have scanners that can detect and read the microchip of a pet that is brought in off the streets.
Thank you Dr. Danford!
If you're planning to microchip your pet give the folks at Raleigh Community Animal Hospital a call to set up an appointment. You can reach them at 919-948-4210 or visit their website at www.vetraleigh.com.