All too often, a beloved pet becomes lost or escapes the house without their owner’s knowledge. It can be extremely stressful to try and locate a lost pet, especially if they are without physical identification such as a collar and tag. Microchips have helped to reunite multiple pets with their owners and are of great importance as a pet owner.

As cited by 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). The AVMA also noted that for microchipped animals that weren't returned to their owners, most of the time it was due to absent (unregistered) or incorrect owner information in the microchip registry database. Based on these statistics, the odds of reuniting with a lost pet are more likely when the pet has a microchip with appropriately registered information.

What is a microchip and how does it work?
A microchip is a small device that is injected beneath the skin, typically along the back between a pet’s shoulder blades. The microchip itself is easily implanted (like an injection) and can be placed during a routine veterinary visit. A microchip is approximately the size and shape of a grain of rice. Each microchip has a specific set of identification numbers which is unique to each pet. This code may then be read by a universal scanner – the scanner is simply waved over the pet until the chip is detected. Once a microchip is placed, a pet may then be registered into a database that stores an owner’s contact information. Currently, microchips do not have GPS capability to determine a pet’s location.

Each microchip will be tied to a designated database or registry which holds an owner’s personal information (privately and securely). Keeping updated registration is VITAL to the return of a lost pet. Outdated registration details will dramatically reduce the likelihood of having your pet returned to you. Many pets are brought to a veterinary location and scanned for their microchip – and unfortunately are registered to outdated contact information. Please note that upon any change in contact information, you should always contact the specific microchip service to update your information. Microchips are a permanent form of identification. It is still advised to keep identification tags on the collar of your pet for ease of access to their identification (Rabies tag, city license tag, personal ID tag).

How can I get my pet microchipped?
Falcon Valley Animal Hospital may place a microchip at any routine veterinary visit or in conjunction with most sedation/anesthetic procedures. Once the microchip is placed, we will provide you with all the steps for registering your contact information.

Dr. Jobe