Pet ID Tags and Microchipping Your Pets
Each year, approximately 10 million pets are lost in the United States; millions of those end up in the nation’s animal shelters. One of the problems frequently experienced by shelters is overcrowding. There is only so much space to house dogs, cats and other small animals. When there is no more room at a shelter to house the animals, and if no other shelter is able to take them, the animals are often euthanized. Shelter staff would be overjoyed to be able to adopt out the pet, or return it to its owner; however, if your pet has no ownership identification on it, they can’t do that. Pets with Pet ID tags and microchips are much more likely to be reunited with their families than those who do not have both of these identifying devices.
WHAT IS A MICROCHIP?
A microchip is an electronic implant the size of a grain of rice which is placed under the skin of your pet between the shoulder blades. The microchip is inserted by needle, and your pet will experience a minimal level of discomfort — it is similar to receiving a vaccination.
HOW DOES A MICROCHIP WORK?
Each microchip has a unique number. This is your pet’s unique ID number, and is the only information stored on the microchip. When a microchip scanner is passed over your pet and a microchip is detected, the unique number of that microchip is identified and can be looked up in an online database. The pet owner will then be contacted. Most veterinarians, shelters and pet rescues have microchip scanners.
WHAT IS A MICROCHIP REGISTRY?
The pet owner’s name and contact information are NOT stored on the microchip; only the unique microchip ID number is stored. Therefore, you need to register the microchip after it is implanted in your pet by your veterinarian. Your vet will provide you with the name of the registry your pet is enrolled with; you can register your contact details online, or contact the registry by telephone.
If you do not register the microchip, it cannot be used to unite you and your pet. A microchip only works if the information provided to the registry is kept up-to-date.
IS HAVING A PET ID TAG ENOUGH?
No! Although pet ID tags do definitely lead to the reunification of many pets with their families, unfortunately ID tags can and do fall off and collars can break, leaving your pet with no identification information. A microchip is permanent and does not deteriorate over time. It will not become separated from your pet.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF MICROCHIPPING?
- The device is permanent. It cannot be separated from your pet by trauma or accident, and will remain implanted and unchanged throughout the animal’s life.
- A microchip does not erode over time; it is weatherproof. Printed ID tags can become unreadable over time and exposure to the elements.
- Implantation of a microchip is safe, inexpensive and quick. No surgery or anesthesia is required. It is much less traumatic than branding or tattooing.
- The microchip is not noticeable. It is the size of a grain of rice, and is implanted under the animal’s skin.
- A microchip provides proof of ownership if your pet is stolen, or the owner of the pet is in question.
- Microchips are crucial in reuniting animals with their owners after emergencies or catastrophic events (such as an earthquake, flood, tornado).
- Microchipping saves pet lives. When shelters are overcrowded and an animal’s ownership cannot be identified, the shelter will face the prospect of euthanizing it. Each animal in a shelter that can be reunified with its owner will be one less animal contributing to overcrowding of the shelter.
- A microchip will lead to quicker reunification of a pet with its owner, alleviating tremendous stress on both the animal and the owner.
The professional and caring staff at Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital is dedicated to serving the Kingsport area. Contact us to have your pet microchipped as soon as possible. It can literally save your pet’s life!