Lost pets and their guardians deserve to be reunited. Even though a person may be a responsible pet guardian, accidents do happen and pets escape yards. Current estimates are that one out of every three pets becomes lost at least once in their life. In addition, according to a study conducted by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, only about 22% of lost dogs and less than 2% of lost cats that entered shelters were reunited with their guardians. However, the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52%, and for microchipped cats it was over 38%. The odds of a pet being returned to its owner dramatically increase with microchipping.
Even though there are other ways to identify your pet, such as name tags or licenses attached to collars, it is also possible that the collar can slide off, be removed, or the tags become difficult to read. A microchip is one form of permanent identification. The additional benefit is that a microchip has an average life expectancy of twenty-five years.
Microchipping is a relatively simple procedure done by a veterinarian or at your local shelter. It is like giving an injection to your pet. In a matter of seconds this small computer chip, no larger than a grain of rice, is injected just under your pets’ skin, between the shoulder blades. There is no need to leave your pet at a clinic, you can be present during the injection, no anesthetic is required, and your pet will not experience any more distress than it would when getting its annual vaccinations.
After the injection, a test scan is done to ensure that the chip is functioning correctly. A form is completed that records the microchip identification number, along with guardian contact information, pet name and description, and veterinarian or shelter contact information. This form is then sent to the registry of the particular brand of chip. Additionally, free of charge, you can register any brand or frequency of microchip, add pets, and update contact information online at Found Animals Microchip Registry (https://microchipregistry.foundanimals.org/). Whenever a lost pet is located, Found Animals provides an alert system. Whatever registry is utilized, it is important to remember to keep all contact information current. There have been numerous instances of strays with microchips being brought into a shelter and, unfortunately, the owner cannot be located because the information provided is outdated.
Every microchip contains a 9, 10 or 15 digit identification number and the phone number of its registry. A microchip does not store any personal information. In addition, a microchip cannot function as a GPS since it does not contain a power source. The chip will not do anything until a handheld scanner is passed over it. At that time, the scanner reads the radio frequency of the implanted chip and displays the ID and registry phone number. If your pet arrives at a shelter or vet clinic, they will immediately scan for a chip and contact the registry displayed to get your name and phone number to reunite your missing pet with you.
If you have not microchipped your pet because of cost, please reconsider. The Tehama County Animal Care Center at 1830 Walnut St., Red Bluff will microchip for $15.00. Additionally, in Tehama County, VIP Pet Care (1-800-427-7973) will microchip for $15.00 and are at Tractor Supply, 249 Main St., Red Bluff every Sunday from 3:45pm to 5:00 pm. Vet clinics will also microchip and the fees will vary depending upon any additional services provided.
Microchipping your pet will help give you peace of mind. If your pet is lost, you know that your pet can be identified if found. It also proves, without question, that you are the pet’s owner should the need arise. Above all else, it works. There are numerous stories of pets being reunited with their guardians after months of being missing. The one item all had in common was that they were microchipped.