Imagine if your dog or cat got lost. You’d want to give him or her the best chance of getting home. With microchipping, you can. Microchipping is a safe, permanent way to identify your pet in case he or she becomes lost. A microchip, which is a tiny device about the size and shape of a grain of rice, is placed just under the loose skin at the back of the neck. When a lost dog or cat without an ID tag is found, a veterinarian or veterinary technician will use a handheld microchip scanner to check for a chip. If the pet has one, it will transmit its ID number to the scanner via a low-frequency radio wave. The veterinary hospital or shelter then calls the chip manufacturer, retrieves the pet owner’s contact information, and calls the owner.

Lost pet statistics

  • More than 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year (an estimation from the American Humane Association).
  • One in three pets will become lost at some point during its lifetime.
  • About 22 percent of lost dogs that enter animal shelters are reunited with their families. Still, the rate of return for microchipped dogs is more than 52 percent, which is a 238 percent increase (according to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association).
  • Less than 2 percent of lost cats that enter animal shelters are reunited with their families, but the rate of return for microchipped cats is more than 38 percent, which is a 2,000 percent increase (the same study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association).

Why you should microchip your pet

A microchip is a simple, small, and inexpensive way to give your pet a “voice.” It gives your pet the ability to tell the person who finds him who he is and where he lives. A microchip provides secure, reliable, and permanent identification, which greatly increases the likelihood that your pet, if lost, will be returned home to you.

Why you should register your pet’s microchip

A microchip only does its job if it is registered with up-to-date contact information in a pet recovery database. The same study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association mentioned above also indicated that only 58 percent of microchipped animals in shelters have microchips that are registered in a database with their owner’s contact information. That means that more than 40 percent of the microchipped animals had microchips that were essentially useless.

August 15 is Check the Chip Day. If your pet is not microchipped, contact us to schedule an appointment. If your pet is microchipped and you are unsure about the registration, we can help you determine which database you need to contact.