When it comes to the safety of our pets, identification and traceability are key. As a pet owner, microchipping your animals provides a permanent method of identification, boosting their chances of being reunited with you should they happen to go missing.
The truth is, despite your best efforts at safety, accidents can happen. Someone leaves a door open or your little pooch digs past the fence. For animals with a collar and identification tag, chances are good that they will be found.
But what happens if the collar is lost or comes off?
This is where microchipping our pets can help immensely. Virtually any pet can be fitted with a microchip, including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, snakes, and fish. You can even microchip tortoises! Thanks to the microchip technology, thousands of pets are reunited with their owners every year.
It is important to remember here that while microchips are a good backup option for pet identification, they should never be used alone as the main source of finding your pet. That said, microchips do provide that extra bit of protection in case your pet happens to lose its collar and tags.
What is a Microchip and How Does it Work?
A microchip is a tiny electronic chip that gets activated once it is scanned. This small device is implanted under an animal’s skin so that when scanned, their identification number can be read. This particular number is connected to the personal contact information of the pet’s owner and can help whoever has found the pet locate the animal’s rightful owners.
Unlike collars and tags, microchips do not fall off and are the only permanent method of making sure that your pet can be traced back to you. If your pet happens to wander too far off from home and is picked up, one of the first things that animal control will do is scan for a microchip.
Although a microchip does not fully guarantee that your pet will be found and reunited with you, it still drastically increases the chances of locating them. In emergency situations, you can capitalize on the benefits that microchipping provides.
A chip is also a great way for pet owners to be reunited with their animals after a natural disaster separates them. As microchips are permanent, they provide you with a lifelong identification method.
They are also great in situations when an animal suffers from a disease that requires medication. A quicker reconnection through a microchip means the animal’s life won’t be in danger for long, and that it will be returned to safety and given the appropriate medication.
Why is Microchipping Our Pets Important for Their Safety?
One in three pets become separated from their owners at some stage. With that statistic in mind, a tiny microchip may be their best chance of being returned home safely if they happen to go missing.
The efficacy of microchips in helping pets get reunited with their owners is underscored by studies as well. For instance, this study – conducted in 2009 – supports the fact that dogs and cats fitted with microchips are more likely to be returned to their rightful owners than pets without.
The study reported that cats with a microchip in them were 20 times more likely to be found and returned home safely than cats without. Similarly, dogs with microchips were 2.5 times more likely to be returned to their owners than those without.
It is an undeniable fact that microchips have proven themselves to be effective at reuniting missing pets with their guardians. They are reliable and are used globally by pet owners.
Ultimately, though, a microchip alone can only go so far. While the technology is very reliable, in order for your pet’s microchip to be useful, you need to provide up-to-date and accurate information about your whereabouts.
You will need to register the microchip and provide your contact information so that in case of an emergency, animal control or a veterinary service can get in touch with you. It is good practice to provide multiple emergency contacts in case your pet gets lost while you are out of town.
While we hope that your pet never gets lost, when it comes to the safety of our little companions, we need to pull out all stops. Ensuring that your pet is microchipped is just another way for you to give yourself and your pet the best chance of a speedy reunion, should an undesirable situation arise.
Are Pet Microchips Safe?
Microchips are completely safe for animals and have, in fact, become standard practice for most owners. Many pet parents request microchipping when they take their pet in for neutering or a spray.
The process of implanting a microchip is a quick one that employs the use of a sterile, pre-loaded syringe. The standard location of placement of a microchip for cats and dogs is typically behind the neck and between the shoulder blades.
The entire procedure is quick, sterile, and completely safe!
Is Implanting a Microchip Painful for the Animal?
A microchip is injected under the skin using a hypodermic needle. For animals, that is no more painful than a typical injection, although the needle can be slightly larger than those used in a typical injection.
The process of implanting a microchip does not require any anesthesia or surgery. It can simply be implanted during a routine visit to your veterinary doctor.
In some instances, if your pet is already under anesthesia as a result of some other procedure, a microchip can be injected into them while they are still under anesthesia.
So, owners don’t need to be hesitant in getting their pet microchipped due to fear of pain as it is only minor and does not last long at all.
Why It’s Important to Keep Microchip Details Up to Date
Microchips are the best safety equipment for your little pet to be returned home. But some people think that a chip acts as a track or a GPS device – which is inaccurate. As mentioned earlier, a chip can only go so far if the owner’s details are not accurate, up-to-date and thorough.
Unfortunately, roughly 40% of microchips have inaccurate or outdated information. Many times, these chips aren’t even registered which sets the difference between a pet getting reunited with its parents and staying separated.
If you happen to move houses, change your phone number, or if your pet’s ownership changes, it is imperative that you update the microchip database you are registered with. This way, when scanned, the chip will have your most up-to-date contact details.
Once a shelter or a vet gets the chip’s number, and the company that produced that chip, they will get in touch with said company to find the owner of the pet. And that is why it is so important to get your pet’s microchip registered and updated.
An important thing to be aware of is that telling your veterinarian doctor your new contact details is not going to update your pet’s microchip. You need to get it updated from the company that you registered it from in the first place.
At the end of the day, every decision that is made once your pet is lost and then found by someone will come down to the information registered on their chip.
If you have gotten your pet from someone else, you should find out whether the previous owners chipped their animal as soon as you can. Ask them to get the microchip information updated in the database they are registered to. If possible, you can do this yourself as well.
In most cases, however, it is much more straightforward if the original owner modifies the information since animal centers and vets need to feel satisfied that you are the legitimate owner before they change any info.
What to Do If You Find a Lost Pet
As much as you may fall in love with the adorable little cat that has showed up at your door or a dog that has appeared in your yard, it is important to take the responsibility of following up with all the steps to try and get them back with their family.
Putting yourself in the shoes of the pet owner who has just lost their beloved pet, you should take the dog or cat to an animal shelter or a veterinarian. You can even take them to a pet supply store that can scan for a chip.
You should also always report a found pet to your local animal shelter in an attempt to reunite them with their owner. There are also a lot of local missing pet groups on Facebook that you can utilize to notify your neighborhood that you have come across a stray animal.
Should You Be Concerned About Your Privacy If Your Pet is Microchipped?
Nowadays, the microchips used in pets only contain identification numbers. As said before, a microchip is not a GPS device or a direct tracker that will lead someone to you if your pet happens to get lost.
Presently, the microchip technology also does not contain your pet’s medical information. However, some chip registration databases will let you store the relevant medical information in their database just as a quick reference.
Hence, you don’t need to be concerned about your privacy. The information you provide to the microchip’s manufacturer and registry will only be utilized when it is needed to contact you in the event that your pet is found and their chip is scanned.
In the microchip’s registry database, the only information available is the one you choose to disclose when you register the microchip or update your information. Even then, this information is only available to that particular microchip company who cannot legally disclose it to any other party. You can rest easy knowing that there are protective measures in place so that a random person can’t simply look up your information.
What is the ISO Standard and What Does It Mean for You?
The International Standards Organization (ISO) has an approved and recommended standard for microchips globally. It is the global standard and is meant to create an identification system for pets that is consistent all over the world.
This means that if a pet is implanted with an ISO microchip in the U.S. who then travels to Europe with its owners and becomes lost, the ISO standard scanners in Europe will be able to scan and read the animal’s microchip.
Is There Any Maintenance Needed After a Microchip Has Been Implanted?
Once your pet is microchipped, there are a few things you can do:
- Make sure that the chip is registered
- Ask your vet to scan your pet’s chip during every visit to ensure that it is functioning fully and can be detected
- Keep your registration info updated
Apart from these three factors, there are no additional steps required to ensure that the chip keeps on working optimally. If, by any chance, you notice any oozing or swelling in the location of where the microchip was injected, contact your veterinarian and get it checked.
What to Do If Your Pet Goes Missing
If you happen to lose your pet, the first thing you should do is call the database center immediately and report them missing. Going a step further, you should also get in touch with rescue organizations, register them as missing there and hang up posters locally. Often, people take in pets thinking they are strays, in which case the chip won’t get read.
Having your pet microchipped is one of the most crucial steps in making sure that they find their way back home. The next step after implanting that chip is to get it registered and make sure your pet’s information and your contact details are in order. An old address or phone number is simply not going to help you be reunited with your little family member.
Remember that dogs and cats should be microchipped whether they mostly reside outside your home or inside.
Once you have taken the necessary steps of microchipping to ensure the safety of your pets, it is now time to go the extra mile and choose a pet care service that takes it from there.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, Rover’s Recess and our pet safety-trained employees will make sure that you leave your furry friend in the best of hands.
Contact us today to get your pet care needs taken care of. You can even schedule a free meet and greet since we are always looking for a chance to expand our furry friends circle!