There’s No Place Like Home: Pet Microchipping

veterinary careUnfortunately, we all know the drill: You frantically drive all over your neighborhood calling and searching for your lost pet. Of course you post notices online and in the paper and stick pictures and flyers everywhere, even offering a reward. You visit all the shelters. You probably call everyone you know to help. If you and your pet are lucky, he or she turns up, none the worse for the adventure. If you are unlucky, your pet is gone forever and you may never know what happened to your best friend.

But there is a safe, easy, affordable safeguard, that, while not foolproof or guaranteed, brings tens of thousands of lost pets safely home again. It’s called microchipping.

What is Microchipping?

Microchipping uses a syringe and needle to insert a tiny capsule utilizing RFID technology – similar to that found in passports and credit cards – between your pet’s shoulder blades. When scanned with the proper scanner, the passive chip reveals a unique identification number that corresponds to a particular pet locator company. Your contact details are permanently in their database and the vet or shelter can then contact you.

The microchip itself is tiny – about the size of a grain of white rice – and consists of a tiny passive microchip sealed inside a bio-compatible glass capsule. Since the chip is read-only and doesn’t broadcast information, it doesn’t require batteries and will never need to be replaced during your pet’s lifetime. To work, the chip must be scanned by the correct scanner for that company, or by a universal scanner.

At Schertz Animal Hospital we use Home Again microchips. The Home Again brand microchip is read by all microchip scanners, and is the most widely used chip in America. The cost of the chip covers the procedure and includes the first year’s subscription to Home Again. Since the microchip number will forever be linked to you in their database, no additional yearly fees are necessary. (Make certain you notify Home Again if you move or your contact details change, however, because if no one can find you, it won’t matter if they found your pet!)

Win-Win

True, microchipping can’t guarantee that your lost pet will be returned, but chances of getting him or her back safely increase enormously. Thousands of lost pets would be spared a grim shelter experience and eventual euthanasia every year if their owners could be located in time.

When performed by your vet, microchipping is fast, easy, and no more painful than most other injections or vaccinations. Some pets don’t even seem to notice! And even if your pet does flinch, he or she would probably agree that a “pinch” is a small price to pay compared to wandering lost.

A Multi-Level Approach

There’s no question that the advantages of microchipping, but no one advises microchipping alone: Your pet must also wear current tags. Most people know to take a stray to a shelter, but in the absence of tags, some finders may incorrectly assume no one cares about the animal. They might keep your pet themselves or even give him or her away.

Sensible pet owners practice a multi-leveled approach to making sure their pet will be returned, such as writing contact details on the underside of their pet’s collar just in case the tags come off, tattooing, and of course microchipping. (The more backup systems in place, the better the chances of finding your furry friend quickly.)

If you have questions about microchipping, or want to schedule an appointment to have your pet microchipped, call or email us today.

posted in:  Pet Safety