Each year, millions of beloved pets enter shelters, and more than three million are euthanized. In fact, according to the ASPCA, only about 710,000 of these wayward pets are returned to their devastated families. On your daily errands around town or during neighborhood hikes with your pet, you likely have encountered “Lost Dog” and “Lost Cat” signs posted by a grief-stricken family. Sadly, the American Humane Association estimates that approximately one out of three pets will go missing in their lifetime, 80% of whom will never be reunited with their families. Additionally, without any form of personal identification, 90% of lost pets will not make it home. The good news is that an easy, cost effective, quick procedure can help ensure your pet does not become a missing pet statistic should they head out on an unexpected adventure. Microchipping your pet at Medina Veterinary Clinic greatly increases the chances of being reunited with them by more than 50%. Your pet may spend most or all of their time inside, but microchipping them still has many benefits.
#1: Pet microchips can be easily implanted during a regular veterinary visit
Many owners are often concerned about the process, pain, or possibility of complications with microchipping their pet. However, the entire process is fast—less than 2 seconds—with minimal to no pain, and only rare complications. Microchips can be safely injected into any species, including your pet fish. No bigger than a grain of rice, a small biocompatible transponder is inserted with a hypodermic needle that is slightly larger than a vaccination needle. The microchip is implanted under your pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades, and can be inserted at any age, although some pet parents choose to wait until their pets are anesthetized for their spay or neuter procedure.
#2: Pet microchips are the only permanent, unalterable form of identification
Your pet’s microchip, once inserted under their skin, will remain there for their entire life. Microchips do not contain any moving parts or batteries, so replacement is never necessary. Similar to a human’s social security number, a microchip provides your pet with their own unique identification number/letter combination. In addition to adding your pet’s chip ID to their medical record, your Medina veterinarian will also provide you with a registration form and company website. Registration is often free or a minimal fee, and in some cases must be renewed yearly. As an extra precaution, always ensure your pet is wearing an embroidered collar or tag that contains current contact information and/or your pet’s microchip number as a secondary form of identification.
#3: Pet microchips require little to no maintenance
Once your pet receives their microchip, maintenance is seamless for you as a pet parent. Ask your veterinarian to check your pet’s microchip during your pet’s yearly exams, or schedule an appointment on national Check the Chip day. Although microchips rarely stop working, it’s always good to ensure the transponder is not malfunctioning. Additionally, always remember to keep your contact information current with the microchip registration, especially if you are planning to move or if you change your phone number.
#4: Registered microchipped pets are accessible to shelters across the country
If your pet has escaped and embarked on their own travel adventure, then you are in good company. In 2007, celebrity Vanessa Williams’ curious Yorkie went missing for more than two weeks and ended up in a Connecticut shelter. Thankfully, the singer’s dog was microchipped and the shelter was able to quickly reunite her with her pet. Dogs who have traveled more than 1,000 miles over a period of years have still been reunited with their families, thanks to a registered microchip in a universal database. The American Animal Hospital Association has established a universal website that is like Google for microchips. A pet’s unique identification can be typed into their search engine, and if the chip is registered, the company name to contact for more information will be revealed. Microchip readings never reveal private information or specifics of your pet’s medical history.
#5: Microchips prepare your pet for a natural disaster
Regardless of where you live in the country, natural disasters are always a looming threat. As Medina residents, we have experienced natural events including tornados, power outages, and excessive floods. These unexpected extreme weather conditions are stressful not only to humans, but especially their pets. During the confusion of evacuation from an extreme weather event, pets frequently become scared, confused, or in some cases displaced, and acting quickly is key to avoiding such mishaps. Always ensure your pet is microchipped with current registration and contact information. If your dog or cat is fortunate enough to be found by a Good Samaritan and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, dogs with registered microchips are twice as likely to be reunited with their families, while cats are 20 times as likely to be returned home.
Our Medina Veterinary Clinic team hopes you never have to experience the grief of a missing pet. Call our office to schedule your pet for a microchip implant or chip check, so you always have the best chance of a reunion should they go off on an unplanned adventure.