Each year, nearly 8 million animals end up in local shelters. Of those 8 million pets, data shows that less than 20 percent of lost dogs and less than 2 percent of missing cats are ever returned to their original owners.
Thankfully, there are some useful tools available to help pet owners who have lost their pets find them again — including microchips. Having your pets microchipped is one of the best ways to increase the chance that you will be reunited with them, should they ever go missing.
What Is Microchipping?
A microchip is a very small, radio-frequency identification transponder. Microchipping your pet involves placing an identification chip in your pet’s shoulder area. A needle is used to place the chip under the animal’s skin.
It only takes a few seconds for a veterinarian to implant a microchip under your pet’s skin. In fact, many owners choose to have this procedure done while their pet is being neutered or spayed to save time and reduce any discomfort to their pet. The procedure itself is performed with a large, sterilized needle and does not seriously injure or hurt your pet.
How It Works
Each microchip is programmed with a unique identification number that links your pet to your home address and contact information. This information can be picked up when the microchip is scanned by a specific scanning machine that is used by many veterinary clinics and animal shelters.
Some people think that a microchip works similarly to a tracker or GPS device. However, it only works when someone scans the chip on the proper frequency. Different scanners read different frequencies. Because of this, a microchip is only as good as the information registered to it. It is important to make sure the chip is registered to you and that your updated phone number and address is attached to it, so your pet can be returned to you.
Why Is Microchipping Your Pet Important?
The American Humane Association estimates that more than 10 million cats and dogs are lost or stolen in the United States each year.
If someone finds your lost pet and takes him to a local veterinary clinic or animal shelter, a microchip is one of the best ways to guarantee that he ends up back in your arms.