As a pet owner, you are well aware that your pets are incredibly curious. It’s an unfortunate fact that their curiosity drives many pets to wander and end up lost. A shocking eight million animals are taken in by animal shelters each and every year, but only fifteen to twenty percent of dogs and less than two percent of cats are reunited with their families. In many cases, this is not because pet owners don’t care, but rather because they cannot find their pet, and their pet has no way to communicate where they belong. This can be resolved quite easily through the use of microchipping.

How to Be a Good Pet Owner

Microchipping is a process through which a small microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is placed under a pet’s skin with a needle, normally between their shoulder blades. This microchip has a unique number that is read by a scanner held over the pet’s shoulder blade area, and which–when entered into a computer database–identifies the pet’s owner.

The process of microchipping a pet is incredibly fast–about as fast as giving them a vaccination shot–and while it causes a small pinch of discomfort, it is not painful. That said, it is advisable to have a licensed veterinarian microchip your pet, especially since they know better where and how to place the microchip. There may be no law restricting microchipping to licensed veterinarians, but very rarely there can be complications which a veterinarian will be able to address. Many pet owners choose to have their pets microchipped while they are being vaccinated, spayed or neutered. And even though some animals may indicate some mild discomfort for a moment while being microchipped, the benefits are very well worth it.

Pet owners have an increased chance of being reunited with their pets if they have been microchipped. This is because many individuals who come across lost pets will take the pet to a local shelter or veterinary office. Today, it is fairly standard practice in many shelters and veterinary offices to scan lost pets for microchips. If one is discovered, the number is entered into the database to call up the company that made the chip, at which point the company can direct the individual to the pet owner. However, this is dependent upon whether the pet owner has registered their pet’s microchip and kept it up to date. Pet owners must fill out the appropriate paperwork in order to have their pet’s microchip registered, and must be sure to contact the microchip company whenever they move or change their phone number so that they will be contactable should their lost pet be found and scanned.

Unfortunately, microchips can sometimes move in the pet’s body, away from the shoulder blades and over to their side. If this happens, there is a chance that a shelter or veterinary office that scans your pet will not find their microchip. For this reason, it is advisable that you have your veterinarian re-scan your pet each time you bring him in for an examination. This will help to determine if the microchip is still in the proper position or whether it has moved out of position and your pet will, therefore, need a new microchip injection.

There are several different brands of microchips. In order to determine which brand is best for your pet, speak with your veterinarian and, if you want, your local animal shelter. You may be able to determine which brand of microchip is most common in your area, as well as which brands of chips are more easily and universally read by different kinds of scanners, and is, therefore, most likely to help your lost pet find his way home to you.

In Conclusion

Microchips are a unique and helpful way to identify your pets, especially if all other identification has been lost. However, a microchip should not be your pet’s only form of identification, and you would do well to make sure that they also have a collar with identification tags on it.