Unfortunately, all pets run the risk of becoming separated from their owners. Even when you take certain precautions, sometimes situations go beyond your control and the unexpected can happen. Next thing you know, you’re hanging up “Lost” posters on community bulletin boards and driving around for hours in search of your pet. To increase their chances of being returned to you should they become lost, we highly recommend having your pet microchipped. These devices have allowed for thousands upon thousands of pets to be reunited with their owners and are an invaluable tool for protecting your pet(1).
What Is A Microchip?
A microchip is an electronic chip contained within a small, glass cylinder about the size of a grain of rice(2). A typical microchip is composed of an integrated circuit, a capacitor, and a coil conductor(1). They remain inactive until scanned, and therefore require no internal power source. All types of animals can be microchipped, including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, birds, and ferrets. They are injected just under the skin using a hypodermic needle; this process is no more painful than a normal injection, and therefore does not require anesthesia or surgery(2). Once implanted, the chip is trusted to stay in place and functional for the rest of your pet’s life(1). Your pet will also be completely unaware of the chip, as it will not cause them any pain or irritation(2).
It’s important to note that microchips are not GPS devices that can track down lost pets. Currently, they only contain identification numbers for your pet(2). They work by providing basic data when they are scanned, such as your contact information, the name and description of your pet, and the name/contact information of the veterinary clinic or shelter that implanted the microchip(1). Some microchip databases even allow for your pet’s medical history to be inputted for quick reference(2). This way, if your pet is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, their chip can be scanned and officials can get in contact with you to notify you of your pet’s location.
Why Microchip Your Pets?
Traditional identification tags are good to have on your pet because they are often the first thing people look for when trying to identify lost animals. However, tags and collars can be easily removed, or lost, and thereby rendered useless for helping lost or stolen pets(3). While microchips do not completely replace traditional collar identification and rabies tags, they are a safeguard to insure information on your pet is always accessible(3).
A study of more than 7,700 stray pets found that dogs with microchips were reunited with their owners 52.2% of the time, whereas dogs without microchips were only returned to their owners 21.9% of the time(2). Similarly, 38.5% of lost cats with microchips were returned home, compared to the 1.8% of cats without microchips who were returned home(2). Due to the overwhelming success of microchipping, some countries, such as Australia, are passing laws to make microchipping mandatory for all pet owners(1).While there are associated risks with microchips, veterinarians agree that the benefits of microchipping are far superior. Pets belong with their owners; to give your furry friend every chance to make it back to you, contact your veterinarian today to schedule your pet’s microchipping appointment. Prepare your pet for the day they may need to find a way home.
- While they are not GPS devices, microchips contain your contact information, accessible once scanned by a veterinary clinic or animal shelter. This way, you may be contacted if your lost pet is located.
- Microchips can be implanted during routine vet visits and are no more painful than typical injections.
- Microchips greatly increase a lost pet’s chances of being reunited with their owners.
- "Benefits of Microchipping Pets." NJPetCommunity. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2017.
- "Microchipping of Animals FAQ." AVMA. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2017.
- "Bonus Benefits of Microchipping Your Pet." Petfinder. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2017.