Microchip - Easy Identification for Your Pet
Every now and then I come across a pet news article about the reuniting of a long-lost pet with a pet-parent. Here is a recent article from Life with Dogs involving such a situation. As I investigate further into the article it surprises me when I find out that the reason behind the reunion is a simple piece of technology called the - Microchip!
So, I started thinking, is it really that important to microchip our pets? Romeo and Izzy (my two dogs) have a microchip, but Oliver and Casey (my two cats) do not. Am I being biased here? My cats are indoor/outdoor cats. Shouldn't their safety be just as important as my dogs? I could never imagine any of my beloved pets disappearing and not having a 100% full-proof system of identification in place.
What is the benefit of microchipping?
Collars and tags just aren't good enough to do the job, they can easily be removed, or get caught on something and fall off. Microchipping is quick, and the easiest way to identify a lost or stolen animal
This little piece of technology (the size is similar to a large piece of rice) has an identification number that is related to your pet. This is the simplest and safest identification marker for a pet.
Sadly, many animals in shelters go unidentified because there is no collar, tag, or microchip. Only 15% of dogs and 2% of cats are reunited with their pet-parent after entering a shelter.
Where can my pet get microchipped?
Any vet or local shelter should be able to perform this procedure. But, that is just the FIRST step. Sadly, many pet-parents don't follow through with the SECOND step, which is registering their pet online. Companies like 24PetWatch offer a full service lost pet recovery network system. However, without your pets information linked to your address and phone number, this technology is worthless.
It is imperative after you get your fur-buddy microchipped that you also do step two - register them! The company (who the microchip is under) will require your personal information such as home address, phone number, and email address. Providing a couple of phone numbers like cell, home, or work is a good idea. Then they ask about your pet's information such as name, species, breed, age, size, coloring (sometimes a picture can be added), and any type of special markings. This is all easily, and quickly, done online through the companies registry.
Does it hurt my pet to get microchipped?
Absolutely NOT! This procedure is painless, quick, and easy to perform just like a vaccination. A quick poke just under the surface of the skin and this little microchip is inserted. For dogs and cats it is typically inserted between the shoulder blades, and for horses or other livestock the left side of the neck is used. The chip can actually be felt underneath the skin.
How does it work?
A scanner is used (like the scanner at your grocery store that runs over the barcode of the product) to identify the individual code assigned to your pet. The code is visible on the scanning device, which is then entered into different pet recovery service databases.
A pet-parent may also report their pet lost or stolen to the database. Vets and shelters will scan new pets to identify the animal.
If you move, or change your phone number or email address, make sure to update this information with the pet recovery registry your pet is under. Old information will not help you and your pet reunite!
Should cats be microchipped?
Back to my original thought process. Do Oliver and Casey really need to be microchipped? As I investigate further, indoor/outdoor cats naturally explore outside of their territory. Making them susceptible to being stolen or getting lost. If someone were to take my sweet boys to the shelter, they may not be able to identify that they belong to me. Both Oliver and Casey wear collars and tags, but, I've learned these can easily be removed or fall off. I will be contacting my vet to get my boys microchipped.
Microchipping is the BEST way to make sure your pet will always find their way back home.