It’s hard to imagine your little furry one getting lost, but it, unfortunately, happens. Read on to see all the reasons why you should microchip your dog.
It’s awful to even imagine, but it happens every day. Pets get lost. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time. (Lord et al, JAVMA, July 15, 2009).
But thanks to microchipping technology, you can help ensure your pup’s safety should his collar or tag slip off and he lose his way home.
Read on for details from our conversation with Adam Behrens, VMD about how the technology works to bring pets home.
Once in a Lifetime
A tiny microchip, no bigger than a grain of rice, holds all of your contact information. Just a quick prick of your vet’s needle and it’s inserted under the skin between your pup’s shoulder blades where it stays forever. If at any time your pet gets lost and turns up at a shelter, vet or animal control facility, the chip is scanned to access your contact information.
The main microchip manufacturers in the U.S. now offer universal microchip readers to humane societies and shelters for free. This ensures that your dog’s information can be accessed, regardless of the chip brand you had implanted.
Easy to Update
If you move or change your contact information, just update your pet’s information via the online or phone-assisted microchip database. This is key to remember since incorrect information is a key reason microchipped animals are not returned to their owners.
Unlike many medical procedures, this one is inexpensive. The cost is about $40 and typically includes unlimited database updates with your contact information. Sometimes the fee is lower if it’s done with another procedure, like neutering or dental work.
If you think you and your pup may at some point move abroad, ask your vet to insert the international universal chip so it’s recognized by scanners abroad.
Keep The Collar On
To protect your dog, make sure to keep his collar tag information updated and never let him roam free. Microchipping is just one more way you can help bring him home if all else fails.
For more info on microchipping, talk to your vet or check out frequently asked questions from the AMVA.
Thank you to Bay Area’s Adam Behrens, VMD for assistance with this tip.
Thank you to Heidi and The Kennel Club for the photo.
Originally published January 2009; reviewed and updated March 2016.