Microchipping: Many Happy Returns

Sep 09, 2015

Microchip ImageWhen a pet gets lost or stolen, the effects on a family are devastating. The first few hours are often critical in trying to locate a pet. Putting up signs, notifying your local animal shelter, and spreading the word via social media are all valuable ways to help find your furry friend. But a simple procedure called microchipping is one of the best ways to increase your chances of a family reunion in the event that you and your pet become separated.

Lost & Not Found

According to Home Again, 90% of pets never return home without proper identification. In a 2009 article from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association:
• Microchipped dogs were twice as likely to be reunited with their owners
• Microchipped cats were 20 times more likely to be reunited with their owners

What is a Microchip?

A microchip is a permanent and effective form of identification, but it is not a tracking device. The chip is approximately the size of a grain of rice that is inserted easily and painlessly beneath your pet’s skin. The process is similar to your pet receiving a vaccination or other type of injection. This can be done during any routine care visit with your veterinarian. If there is ever a concern about the microchip migrating from its injection site, a simple x-ray can be performed to locate it.

Each chip acts as a bar code and contains a unique registration number. When an animal is found and brought to a veterinary hospital or animal shelter, a handheld scanner is passed over the pet’s body. The scanner is searching for the frequency of the microchip and displays its unique identification number. The medical team or shelter staff can then contact the registry to locate the owner’s contact information from their database. The scanners used in veterinary hospitals and shelters are able to read pet microchips from most microchip manufacturers.

Is Microchipping Safe?

Microchipping is extremely safe. More than 4 million animals have been microchipped and monitored since 1996. In that time, less than 0.1% have experienced an adverse reaction.

Microchip Registration: The Key to Success

One of the biggest mistakes made with microchipping is not getting the microchip registered. A pet may have a scannable microchip, but without registering it, the family cannot be found.

Each microchip manufacturer enables you to register the chip and manage the information online. Registration can be as simple as providing your name, address, and telephone number, or it can be more extensive and include the pet’s medical history.

Pets are at risk of getting lost all year round. There is never a good time to lose your best friend. If you have questions about microchipping, please contact your veterinarian to inquire about this simple and effective tool for helping to ensure that you pet is returned to you and your family. You can also visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s FAQ webpage.