Lost No More: The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

 In Animal Microchipping

Every year, over 10 million pets become lost, according to the American Humane Society. Of those 10 million, only 15% of dogs and 2% of cats who lack ID tags or microchips are reunited with their families. These sad statistics highlight the importance of microchipping your beloved pets.

The Benefits of Microchipping Your Pets

Microchips are not GPS devices. They don’t track your pet’s current location. However, microchipping is an extremely useful technology that offers pet owners several benefits, which are:

  • Reuniting lost pets with owners. When a lost animal is brought into a shelter or animal hospital, one of the first orders of business is to scan the animal for a microchip. Using the number scanned from the chip, an owner’s contact information can be pulled from a database. According to the University of Ohio School of Veterinary Medicine, dogs and cats with microchips are 2.4 and 21.4 times as likely, respectively, to be reunited with their owners than ones without.
  • Alerting vets if a pet is stolen. This is essential in the event that a pet is stolen and sold to another owner. When the new owner brings the pet to an animal hospital, a microchip can alert the veterinarian that that animal belongs to someone else. The microchip acts as “proof of ownership.”
  • Reuniting owners and pets after a disaster. Identifying the many missing pets after a disaster, such as a hurricane, is much simpler and quicker when those pets are microchipped.
  • Tracking down horses in the case of a disease outbreak. Microchips are becoming mandatory for show horses and racehorses. The chip is scanned during an event. If a disease outbreak is associated with an animal registered at the event, the microchip information helps event staff get in touch with other horse owners to alert them of the outbreak.

Microchips are the Best Form of Identification

Microchips are not the only way to identify pets and livestock, but other forms of identification don’t provide the same level of protection microchipping does. These other methods include:

  • ID tags. ID tags are important for immediately identifying your pet, so they shouldn’t be discarded when your pet is microchipped. However, ID tags attached to collars can easily fall off or be removed and are thus not a foolproof method of identification.
  • Ear tags. Ear tags in livestock are simple to apply, but they have the same downsides as ID tags: They can be removed or fall off.
  • Tattoos. Tattoos for livestock can fade or be altered.
  • Branding. While used often for livestock, branding in horses causes pain and skin sensitivity.

The Microchipping Process

Microchipping is a simple process. A vet uses a hypodermic needle to inject the small chip under your pet’s skin. It’s an affordable and simple procedure that we offer right here at Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital. Once your pet is microchipped, it’s important to keep your contact information up to date so you can be easily contacted when your missing pet is found. Ask your vet to scan the microchip at least once a year to ensure it is still functioning properly. Make an appointment or find out more about microchipping your pets by contacting us today.