May is CHIP YOUR PET MONTH!
We’ve all heard about microchipping and assume that this is a best practice.
Let’s talk about whether its value and if microchipping is the best solution for your pet.
What is a microchip?
The chip is a radio-frequency identification transponder placed subcutaneously between your pets’ shoulder blades. This chip has a unique identification number linked to your pet. It is not battery powered and can only be read with a scanner at a vet’s office or shelter.
Why should I consider this option?
Pets are 20x more likely to be reunited with their owners if they are microchipped! It is a painless and relatively inexpensive procedure (under $50) that provides some peace of mind in the event your pet is lost.
But what are the downsides?
A microchip is not a GPS tracker. If your pet is lost, the microchip will only be useful if your cat or dog is found and taken to a vet or a shelter. If your pet is stolen, the microchip will not help. The chip can migrate to other parts of the body and can become indetectable. Some vets and shelters do not have scanners compatible with all chips.
Are there microchipping best practices?
There sure are! Once your pet is chipped you must register with an animal recovery database such as:
The American Animal Hospitals Association provides a Universal Chip Database which identifies where a scanned chip is registered.
Maintaining updated contact information in whichever registry you choose is critical. Set a calendar reminder to review this information each May during National Chip Your Pet Month!
Where can I have my dog chipped?
All Veterinary clinics offer this service. The procedure takes less than ten minutes. The Humane Rescue Alliance provides low cost microchipping ($15) by appointment.
Microchips are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the main one. Keeping your pet leashed when outside the house and outfitting your pet with ID tags or a personalized collar printed with your contact information are the first steps in increasing a lost pet’s odds of returning home safely!