Have you ever endured the anguish of a pet slipping out the door and disappearing? Unfortunately, 1 in 3 dogs get lost during their lifetimes, and according to the American Humane Society, only 17% of them are ever recovered. You can beat the odds of this happening to your pet, by having your pet wear an ID tag with a phone number where you can be contacted. Unfortunately, many people forget to check their dog’s tags on a regular basis, they often rust, get scratched, or even come totally off, leaving no way for anyone who finds the dog to find you. More and more pet owners are increasing their chances of recovering a lost pet by having their veterinarian implant an identifying microchip.
Exactly what is a microchip?
A microchip is a tiny computer chip about the size of a grain of rice, that your vet can implant between your pet’s shoulder blades. Each microchip has a unique number, which is entered in an international database. Veterinary hospitals, animal shelters and humane societies have microchip readers (scanners) that can quickly be passed over the dog’s shoulder blades, allowing the scanner to read your dog’s individual microchip number. The number allows the person scanning your dog to know which database your pet is registered with. They can then call a toll-free number, and the database will match your pet’s number with your name and phone number so you can be contacted.
Is it truly a permanent method of identification?
Yes, one microchip should last for your pet’s lifetime, and once you have sent in the initial registration, your only future responsibility is keeping the registry informed of any changes in your contact information, such as a new phone number or address. Although a properly implanted chip cannot be lost or damaged, very rarely a microchip will migrate. It is a good idea to have your veterinarian scan your dog each year when they go for their annual exam, to make sure that the chip is still in the correct location.