The Importance of Microchipping Your Pets
With the new year upon us, now is a good time to make it a point to protect your pet through identification in case they are lost. It is the most loving thing you can do for them.
Each year millions of beloved pets end up lost and separated from their owners for various reasons. According to the American Humane Association, less than 20% of dogs and less than 2% of cats are reunited with their families. Most end up in shelters with no identification on them. Our pets cannot talk and tell their rescuers who they belong to or where they live, so it is up to us to provide that information.
First and foremost, your pet should always wear a collar with their current dog license tag as well as a tag with your current address and phone number. If you move, be sure to update the information. If a stray pet is found wearing a current license tag, the license number can easily be looked up online through the county’s dog license website.
Collars can however, come off, fall off, or be removed. Therefore, in addition to a collar, consider a more permanent form of identification such as a microchip. Microchipping has been gaining in popularity and next to an ID tag, is the most successful in reuniting lost pets with their owners.
A microchip is inserted by a veterinarian beneath the surface of the skin between the animal’s shoulder blades. It is about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique ID code that can be read by a microchip scanner. The procedure is quick and painless, not much different from an ordinary vaccination. The permanent microchip stays with your pet and will last their lifetime.
You MUST register the chip with your address and phone number for it to be effective, and if you move, you need to update the information. Studies show that nearly 75% of dogs and cats brought to shelters with microchips are reunited with their owners. The reasons for the ones not reunited are largely due to incorrect or outdated information in the registry. You can use the link on this page to go to the Home Again website to register or update information, they are the most well-known and widely used microchip company.
Even if you think your pet is safe in a fenced in yard, or well trained, you never know what can happen. Dogs can easily be attracted by scent or curiosity and can wander off in no time. Gates to the yard can be accidentally left open. And pet thefts are increasing at alarming rates. It’s best to be on the safe side at all times and know that your pet has identification on them.
Since the presence of a microchip is only detected through the use of a microchip scanner, it is important to keep your pet's collar and ID tags on at all times. But even if they lose their collar, nearly all shelters, rescues and vets will scan animals found for the presence of a microchip, resulting in much higher chances of them being reunited with you.
The cost of microchipping varies depending on your vet, but there are some low-cost programs available. Refer to the Microchip Ohio website for one such program. Some local shelters also offer low-cost microchipping, usually for around $20 or $25.
See the links on this page for more helpful information and facts about microchipping. I encourage you to read the AVMA FAQs on microchipping.