Lost Pet Awareness Month

With the warm weather approaching, it is especially important to ensure your pets have proper identification in case they become lost. Collars and ID tags, though helpful, can fall off or be removed. A microchip is the only permanent form of pet identification.

Why is it important?

The American Humane Association estimates that over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the United States every year. In fact, one in three pets will become lost at some point during their life! These statistics could be greatly reduced if more pets had registered microchips.

Don’t think it can happen to you?

Imagine if you indoor cat, who does not wear a collar or tag, escaped out the front door that was left ajar by the men delivering your new furniture. Or how about your dog that likes to dig, digs his way under the fence in the backyard and in the process of escape, his collar gets caught and slips off. Your chances of finding your pet with no form of identification, is very slim.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association stated that less than 15 percent of dogs and only 2 percent of cats without microchips are ever returned home. The return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52 percent and over 38 percent for cats! The fact is, registered microchips give lost pets the best chance of returning home.

How do microchips work?

A microchip is a computer chip about the size of a rice grain that is implanted just under the skin on the back of your pet’s neck. This process uses a needle and is only as painful as a routine vaccine injection. The microchip stores an identification number and transmits that information to an appropriate scanning device. It is standard for all veterinary clinics, animal control officers, and animal shelters to scan a lost pet when it is brought in. Your pet’s microchip number must be registered with a company, such as HomeAgain, in order to be added to the information database and linked to your contact information. HomeAgain allows you to upload pictures of your pet online. If your pet is reported lost, they will send out a lost pet alert to facilities within a 25 mile radius of where your pet went missing.

For more information on microchipping, contact your veterinarian. If your pet is already microchipped, make sure to have your vet test the microchip using the scanner at your next annual visit. This will ensure that the chip is still working properly. Also, confirm your pet’s information with the microchip manufacturer database every year and keep your contact information current, as you never know when you will need it!