If you’ve adopted your pet from an animal shelter, they’re likely already microchipped, but you may wonder why microchipping is so important for lost pets. At Mill Creek Animal Hospital, we recommend microchipping your new puppy or kitten ASAP to ensure they find their way home to you should they venture out on their own. Take a closer look at how microchipping can save you from tears and heartbreak, and may save your pet’s life. 

#1: Pet microchips are the only permanent identification form

A microchip is an excellent identification tool for pets. A chip not only lasts for your furry pal’s lifetime, but also requires no batteries, has no moving parts, and is bio-compatible, meaning implantation won’t cause a reaction. Despite a simple design to avoid potential issues, a microchip is incredibly useful for identifying stray pets. Many pet owners worry that a microchip shares their personal information; however, when scanned, a pet microchip emits only a unique identification number. This number is linked to a microchip registration company, which closely guards your contact information. As long as you ensure your contact information is always kept up-to-date, a microchip is your best chance of reuniting with your lost pet. 

#2: Collar ID tags can fall off your pet or be useless

Your pet’s collar with ID tags can help ensure a Good Samaritan can quickly and easily contact you, but collar ID tags are less foolproof than microchips. Collars, or the tags themselves, can break and fall off, and tags can become worn, illegible, and outdated. Plus, your pet may slip out the door in their birthday suit without a collar. Some collars can fit poorly, and your pet can slide right out of their collar on a walk if they put on the brakes and the leash is tugged forward. Since collar ID tags are not the most reliable contact method, double up on identification options and have your pet microchipped.

#3: Pet microchips have more benefits than identification

A microchip’s primary purpose is serving as a permanent identification method, but the chip can also fill other roles. For example, you may own a pack of pets, each with their own special nutritional needs and prescription diets. To ensure each pet eats the correct food without you needing to referee meal times, you can purchase a microchip-activated pet feeder. The door guarding the food will open only when the pet with the programmed microchip is nearby, preventing overeating, or a pet eating an inappropriate diet. Also, a microchip-activated pet door allows only your pet to enter your home, keeping out stray pets and wild animals. 

#4: Pet microchips have a searchable, national registration database

Unlike tattoos, pet microchip numbers are searchable in a universal database. If your microchipped pet is found, brought to a veterinary hospital or animal shelter, and scanned for their chip, the hospital or shelter employee can enter the microchip number into the database, and identify the company that registered the microchip. Your contact information can be obtained only by calling the registration company. The employee can then let you know your pet has been found, and their location. No other identification form involves a database that holds every microchip number and is easy to use. 

#5: A microchip greatly increases your chances of finding your lost pet

While collar ID tags, missing pet flyers, and social media posting can help you find your lost pet, a microchip will greatly increase your chance for a happy reunion. A study of more than 7,700 stray animals who ended up at the ASPCA showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 2.2% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, but microchipped cats were returned home 38.5% of the time. This study looked at only a small sample of microchipped pets, but clearly shows that microchips are effective for reuniting lost pets and their families.

Is your pet’s microchip registration up to date? Ensure your contact info is current by calling your microchip registration company and verifying your phone number and address. If your pet hasn’t been microchipped yet, contact our Mill Creek Animal Hospital team to schedule a quick and easy microchipping procedure.