This month is “Chip Your Pet Month”. Microchipping your pet is an easy, inexpensive way to ensure that your pet will always carry your contact information with them. Over 15 million pets are reported missing in North America a year. One of the reasons pets are not reunited with their owners is the inability to contact the human.
A microchip is the size of a grain of rice and is a computer chip that is implanted under your pet’s skin by a veterinarian. It is similar, in a way to a vaccination shot, as the vet uses a large bore needle and your pet does not have to be under anesthesia. Each microchip has their own registration number, and that number is logged into a database with your name, address and phone number. A master registry of microchips is maintained by the manufacturer.
So how does this ensure your pet comes home to you? If a dog or cat is picked up at a shelter or brought to a vet’s office, the clinic has the ability to scan your pet’s microchip, read the data on the registry and contact you! Microchips are always placed in the same anatomical position (scruff of the neck) so it is standard practice for a vet or animal control agent to scan the pets neck looking for the chip.
Prior to microchipping, a personally engraved tag with your name and number was attached to a dog or cats’ collar. This is still a great practice, so if your pet is found somewhere without easy access to a professional who owns a scanner, you can still be contacted. The downside is these tags are easily lost, fade over time, or if your pet loses the collar, it also loses the i.d.
There are many new and innovative ideas for keeping your pet safe and traceable. Some software companies have devices that will open a doggie door when your dog approaches, GPS tracking systems for your pet when they are free range in dog parks or large personal properties. Tracking devices are used on working dogs for herding, hunting and rescue so the handler can track their pet in real time over a great distance.
Microchips will last for a lifetime once implanted but we recommend that during your annual vet visit you have the chip scanned, to ensure it is still working correctly and all information is updated and accurate.
Ask your local vet if they are offering discounts this month for microchipping, some clinics do! The investment is definitely worth the peace of mind, that no matter where your pet roams, there is a secure, monitored system to bring them home.