Please microchip your pet! If you spend any time at all on social media sites, especially the close neighborhood groups on Facebook or Nextdoor, you will see a constant stream of lost or found pet notices…and that’s really upsetting to me!
According to the ASPCA*, about 6.5 million companion animals, mostly cats and dogs, arrive at one of the community animal shelters nationwide every year. Only about 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners (620,000 dogs and 90,000 cats).
That means that, unfortunately, only about 19% of dogs and only 3% of cats are ever reclaimed by their owners. One of the ways to increase the chances of finding a lost dog or cat is to microchip your pet.
So, what is microchipping?
We use a needle to place a tiny microchip under your pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The chip has a unique number on it that can read by a scanner. It is not a GPS or a tracker. That number is linked to your registration; your name, phone number, and address are linked to that number and held by a third party company – that’s why it’s important to update those records if you move home or change phone numbers. A large number of chipped pets are linked to outdated registration records.
How does it work?
It only works to get your pet back if your furbaby is found by a good Samaritan who takes it to a vet clinic or a shelter to have the animal scanned for a chip. Once we get the chip number, and identify the company that made the chip, we’ll contact that company to try to contact the owner. That’s one of the most important things you need to remember – if you microchip your pet, the chip is only as good as the registration!
The other thing to remember is that there are different kinds of people out there. People who may keep your pet, or give it away, and not look for you – the legal owner. There are also cases where lost animals get hurt or heaven forbid, killed on roads. So, having a chip does not guarantee your pet will be returned, but it does increase the odds of a favorable outcome. The best way to ensure your pet stays safe is to make sure their means of escape are limited!
Is microchipping a pet expensive?
No, not at all, and it is the same price whether we do it on a home visit or in the clinic. Our current price is $65 for the chip, implanting, and one year of registration.
If I get my dog chipped, do I need a tag and license too?
Yes, you do. A microchip is only part of your pet’s ID system. Make sure they have a collar with up to date, legible tags on it with your up-to-date phone number. If you have an outdoor cat, be sure to use a breakaway collars so they don’t get hung up when they’re climbing.
Not everyone knows about microchips, especially if they are not pet owners. That means they may not know to take your pet somewhere to scan for a chip. If your phone number is there on a tag on their collar, everyone knows to look for that. And your (hopefully up-to-date) contact details will be linked to your county dog license registration, so that’s yet another way for someone to find you. Each license is issued with a tag for their collar.
Can any animal be microchipped?
Yes, including dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, ferrets, and most other mammals. Not your kids though…yet!
Is it a complicated procedure, does it hurt them?
Not at all; it’s very quick…about the same time as giving an injection, and it hurts about as much as having blood drawn. I it is a large needle, and there’s a slight pinch, but not much discomfort at all. It takes longer to do the paperwork than implant the chip. While it doesn’t HAVE to be done by a veterinarian, we recommend it to ensure it is placed correctly and injected properly. There have been very, very rare cases of complications, which is why we think it best for your vet to do it, just in case.
Will a microchip give my dog cancer?
Again it is incredibly rare, but there are cases of animals that developed tumors at the site of the microchip. It’s an incredibly low risk, but it is not impossible. You need to weigh that very minimal risk against what could happen to your pet if it was lost without a chip. 20% of dogs and 27% of cats that enter shelters are euthanized.
Questions? Contact Compassionate Animal Care
If you have any questions or concerns about microchipping your pet, please talk to your veterinarian. If you’d like us to microchip your pet, please call 480.774.6995 to schedule an appointment with Compassionate Animal Care today.
*These estimates are based in part on Shelter Animals Count data and other known and estimated sources, 2015-2018. Currently, no government institution or animal organization is responsible for tabulating national statistics for the animal protection movement. These are national estimates; the figures may vary from state to state.