Why You Must Microchip Your Pet
Why You Must Microchip Your Pet
We love our pets. In fact, most of us consider them family members. They provide companionship, unconditional love, comfort, affection, and just plain happiness. We will do just about anything we can to ensure their happiness and well-being. And we would be lost without them. That is why it is so difficult to understand why some pet parents do not take the time to microchip their furry best friends and register their contact information.
Lost or StolenThe statistics are not only sad, but they are also preventable. According to the American Humane Association:<1>
- over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year
- one in three pets will become lost at some point during their life
- microchipped dogs are returned to their owners 2 percent of the time<2>
- but more shocking, cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8 percent of the time, whereas microchipped cats were back at home 38.5 percent of the time<3>
What is Microchipping?
A microchip is a permanent method of electronic identification. The chip itself is very small, only about the size of a grain of rice. It is implanted just under the skin between the shoulder blades at the back of your pet's neck. Each chip has a unique number that is detected using a microchip scanner. The microchip number is recorded in a database registry with details about the animal and the owner. Should your pet wander or become lost, veterinarians, animal shelters, and local animal organizations can scan your pet for a microchip and contact you via the database. Some pet owners believe that a collar and tags are enough to bring their pets home if they get lost or stolen. But collars come off and tags get lost. And if the worse scenario occurs and your pet is stolen, the thief will almost instantly get rid of any visible identification. But a microchip is a permanent identification and a “forever” name tag, with the owner's information, digitally embedded on a chip. It cannot fall off or be removed.
Safe and Effective
Microchipping is a rather straightforward process and does not require anesthetic. It is a quick procedure. It only takes a few seconds and provides secure and reliable identification. This safe and simple procedure causes little discomfort. The vast majority of animals experience minimal or zero side effects from the microchip implantation process. The benefits of microchipping in identifying a lost animal and reuniting them with their owner far outweighs any minimal, momentary discomfort.
When Should Microchipping be Done?
Ideally, your cat or dog should be microchipped prior to you purchasing or adopting your pet. Veterinarians and animal welfare organizations usually have the facilities to microchip pets. The cost of microchipping is almost always including in the adoption fees. But anyone can contact their local animal shelter to schedule an appointment to have their furry companion microchipped at a nominal cost, usually under $40.00. The average cost to have a microchip implanted by a veterinarian may be slightly higher. It is a one-time fee and often includes registration in a pet recovery database.
The brilliance of a microchip implant is its simplicity. Its’ only function is to store a unique ID number that is used to retrieve the owner’s contact information. It normally lasts the lifetime of a pet and will not degenerate over time. When a microchip scanner is passed over the skin of a microchipped pet, the implanted microchip emits a radio frequency (RF) signal. The scanner reads the microchip’s unique ID code. The microchip registry is called, and the registry company uses the ID number to retrieve the pet parent’s contact information from the database.
Keeping Data Current
It is essential to remember that the microchip is only the first step! You must register your pet's microchip to give your pet the best protection. Too often, people forget to register the chip or just put off registering at all. The sad fact is that only 58 percent of the microchipped animals had been registered in a database with their pet parent’s contact information.<4> Imagine the trauma and horror if your pet ran away, was put into an animal shelter and was then euthanized because their microchip was never registered. Pet owners need to ensure their most current contact details are recorded on the databank in relation to their pet's microchip number. This will allow you to be contacted in the event of your pet wandering off or becoming lost. If you move, make updating your information a top priority.
The Sad Reality
It is unfortunate, but our shelters are filled with animals who were not able to be returned to their owners. These animals need even more love while they are waiting for adoption since they were once part of a family and likely miss the stability, love, and affection they once received every day. These unfortunate pets were never meant to be kept in a kennel and they miss the freedom of roaming around a home or backyard. You can help!
Support Your Local Shelter
We encourage you to volunteer at your local animal shelter. You’ll be surprised at how much satisfaction and joy you experience when you walk a few shelter dogs, care for a few cats, or just hang out with the animals. Join us at Sparky Steps where our philosophy is to always put the animal’s needs first. We strive to create a socially responsible community and we are dedicated to increasing awareness that shelter pets are ready for their forever home.
Written by Audrey Beim