My husband and I have two cats, now two years old. At their next vet visit, we plan to have them microchipped. We live in an urban area with lots of traffic so our cats don’t go outdoors. However, I know that sooner, rather than later, their curiosity about that outside world will entice them to escape the safety of the house for the great outdoors. Microchipping my cats is my insurance against losing them forever.
It’s sad but true that one in three pets goes missing during its lifetime, and getting lost is a pet’s #1 cause of death. Without ID, 90% of pets don’t return home. Those are statistics you’ll find on HomeAgain’s website: public.homeagain.com. They are one of several pet recovery services that will record your pet’s microchip number and your contact information to help locate your lost pet.
Most pet owners don’t realize how easy it is to lose a pet. Digging under fences, running through an electric fence, fleeing from fear during fireworks or a thunderstorm, or accidentally being let out of the house through an open door are common ways pets become lost. Fortunately, microchipping your pets offers a way to permanently ID dogs and cats (or other pocket pets) and give them a chance to be reunited with their family if they are ever lost.
How Microchips Work
- A microchip is inserted by a veterinary professional at a vet’s office, animal shelter, pet store or humane society. The microchip is the size of a grain of rice and it is injected just under the skin between the pet’s shoulder blades. It serves as a permanent ID that will never fall off or get lost.
- Pet owners should register the microchip’s unique ID number with a pet recovery data base along with their contact information. Registration is what makes it possible for a pet to be positively identified. Until a pet is registered, it isn’t fully protected.
- If a pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or clinic, the staff will scan the microchip to read its ID code. Unlike GPS devices, the microchip doesn’t project a pet’s location, take batteries to run, or have any moving parts — so it will never need to be charged or replaced.
- The staff will then call the appropriate pet registry with the pet’s ID code.
- As soon as the contact information is retrieved, the pet owner will be contacted and arrangements made for the pet’s reunion with its owner. It’s important to keep the contact information up-to-date, so you, as the owner, can be contacted as soon as the pet is found.
Contrary to what you may think, the microchip insertion doesn’t hurt your pet. It takes only seconds to inject and is about as painless as a vaccination. If you’re adopting a pet from a shelter, your new fur baby may already be microchipped. Check the adoption paperwork or have your vet scan your new pet to detect the presence of a microchip.
The average cost for microchipping is $45 and to register the microchip with a registry about $20. It’s a small price to pay for a lifetime of protection for your furry friends.