Most of us would be devastated if our pets accidentally wandered out of the house or yard or off the leash while walking and got lost.
We might think this is an unlikely event, but statistics show that 1 in 3 pets go missing at some point in their lives.
National Microchipping Month in June draws attention to the importance of having your pet microchipped so that if they are ever lost, there is a way to identify and contact you so your fur baby can return home.
A microchip is a radio frequency identification chip that has a unique identification number. It is very small, about the size of a grain of rice. It does not have batteries and does not need power.
It is implanted just under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades. When a microchip scanner is passed over the chip, it emits a radio signal that transmits the unique identification number.
However, a microchip is not a GPS tracking device. It is unable to show pet parents where their pets are at any given time.
Insertion of a microchip is simple and safe and can be done in your veterinarian’s office. Your pet does not need local painkillers or anesthesia. Your pet’s experience will be similar to receiving a vaccination, although the needle is larger.
Once the microchip is implanted, you must register it. Your vet will often do the registration for you, but be sure to ask if it’s being done on your behalf or if it needs to be done.
When you register a chip, you provide contact information for yourself and/or anyone else you want to be contacted if your pet is found.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve scanned a lost pet at Red Barn Animal Hospital, found a microchip number, called the registration provider, found out it was never registered, and had no way of finding the pet’s parent. Very sad!
Also, if your contact information changes due to a change in email providers, you change your phone number, or you move to a new residence, the information on the microchip record must be updated.
Some people are concerned about the security of their contact information for fear that it may be shared inappropriately.
Rest assured, if your pet is ever lost and taken to a veterinarian or shelter who scans it and finds a chip, the only information provided by the microchip is your pet’s unique ID number and phone number. manufacturer’s registration.
When the registration company is contacted, they will not share your information with whoever has your pet. Instead, they contact you directly and provide details on where your pet can be found.
It’s important for your pet to have a microchip, even if he wears a collar with identification and rabies tags. Although an ID tag on a collar is probably the fastest way to get a pet back, tags can fall off or become unreadable, and collars can break or come off.
Microchips are meant to be permanent, and most are, but in rare cases they can fail. Your vet should use a microchip scanner during annual exams to make sure the microchip is working properly.
If your pet is not already microchipped, make an appointment with your veterinarian today to have one done. Then don’t forget to register it, and you’ll join the group of pet parents who are much more likely to be reunited with your fur baby if it ever gets lost.
• Diana Stoll is the practice manager at Red Barn Animal Hospital with locations in Hampshire and Gilberts. Visit www.redbarnpetvet.com or call (847) 683-4788 or (847) 426-1000.