June is National Microchip your pet month! Pet microchipping is a time-tested way to improve your chances of reuniting with your lost pet. An estimated 30% of pets within the US go missing at least once in their lifetime (Danielle). Surprisingly, only about 42% of those US canines & felines are microchipped (Taeger).
Let’s help fix that! This month’s YPCC Pet Blog post speaks directly to the importance of pet microchipping. Read more below, and let’s start speaking about pet safety, together.
What Is A Pet Microchip?
First things first. What the heck is a pet microchip anyways? Serving as a digital collar of sorts, a pet microchip is an inociolus digital capsule that rests just below your pet’s skin. Only about the size of a cooked grain of rice, this small digital information capsule helps ensure that your pet’s information is with them at all times.
Why Does My Pet Need It?
But doesn’t my pet’s regular collar & ID tag do that anyways? Why do I need both? A microchip isn’t a substitute for your pet’s regular collar and ID tag. But, It helps ensure that your pet keeps their information with them should they slip their collar. In this way, it also helps prevent pet theft.
Think of your pet’s collar as their first line of defense, and their microchip as the backup. While their collar is an easy go-to for any Good Samaritan who might pick up your pet, sometimes ID tags are lost, or out of date. That’s when your pet’s microchip comes into play. Once they are outfitted with their “digital ID tag”, any animal shelter, police station, or vet’s office can simply scan for a microchip. If the pet has one, then the pet’s chip information is then used to help reunite the pet with their listed pet parent.
RTO = Return To Owner
No one expects the unexpected. Whether it’s a simple slip of the leash, a nefarious stranger, or a natural disaster, sometimes life just happens. The RTO (Return To Owner) rate for pets in the US is a jaw-dropping 75% for cats, and 93% for dogs (Rogers). That’s pawsopme! From that, 52% of dogs and 38% of cats are reunited with their owner through their microchip information (Rogers). That RTO rate speaks for itself.
How, And When, Is A Microchip Administered?
That’s The Big Stick! Your pet’s microchip is administered through a simple shot. Yep, you heard right, one simple shot. This procedure is often administered during your pet’s spay/neuter procedure, or through a walk-in microchip clinic.
Our local Moore County Sheriff’s Animal Services department is fantastic about hosting annual pet microchipping clinics. These events are often sponsored by our terrific community, and help provide this life-saving service to pet parents at a reduced cost. Check out their Facebook page to follow along for upcoming events.
How Does It Work?
A pet’s microchip capsule rests in-between their shoulder blades, just below the skin, where it is easily readable through a simple digital scan. Once administered and activated, the chip is easily found utilizing a handheld metal-detector-like device. This device then picks up on the chip number, and relays the chip information to the scanner screen. From there, the chip number is used to look up and contact the pet parents, using the information associated with the chip.
How Long Does It Last?
While nothing in life is 100% fool-proof, the majority of microchips last for your pet’s entire lifetime. To ensure that your pet’s microchip is still functioning properly, we recommend asking your vet to do a quick scan during their annual check-up appointment. Psst..This is also a great time to check that your pet’s associated veterinary records (with home address & phone number) are up to date!
What Else Do I Need To Know?
Glad you asked! Equally important to the act of microchipping your pet, you also need to make sure that your pet’s microchip stays up to date.
Providing your vet with your pet’s microchip number ties your personal contact information to their microchip. Like a regular ID tag, this information also needs to stay updated with any recent home address, or phone number changes.
If your pet’s microchip is administered in-office by your veterinarian, they will record the new microchip’s serial number in their records. If you elect to utilize an out-of-office service for your pet’s microchip, make sure to update your vet. To do so, you can often call or email your veterinarian with your pet’s new microchip number.
The Best Of The Rest
Interested in even more ways to help safe-guard your pet? Check out this FREE pet microchip registry! This website allows pet owners to add even more details to their pet’s microchip, and update everything as needed, right from your home computer.
You can learn even more on pet microchipping, from the pet experts at MVMA, HERE.
Our Blog Sources
Danielle, D. (2022, March 28). Lost pet statistics. Lost Pet Research and Recovery. https://lostpetresearch.com/2019/03/lost-pet-statistics/
Rogers, C. D. (2023, March 22). 15 missing pet statistics: How many pets are lost? (updated in 2023). Pet Keen. https://petkeen.com/missing-and-lost-pet-statistics/
Photo Credit: PetKeen
Taeger, H. (2023, April 12). The Great American Pet Report: 2023 pet ownership statistics. DollarGeek. https://www.dollargeek.com/pet-insurance/pet-ownership-statistics/#:~:text=Our%20research%20found%20that%20less,85%25%20and%2061%25%20respectively.