August 15th is National “Check the Chip” Day. As a pet owner you’re likely very familiar with the movement to ensure that all pets are micro-chipped. But what exactly is a micro-chip? Will it act as a GPS for tracking my dog? No, the experts say, but it could help save your pet’s life. According to HomeAgain, a company with the goal of ensuring that you and your pet are reunited, the microchipping process is quick and painless. With a quick injection into the loose skin between your pet’s shoulder blades, he or she will be microchipped and entered into the chip manufacturer’s database. Though there is no single database for microchips, the manufacturer’s information pops up along with the unique ID number once scanned. This makes the probability of matching your contact information with your pet high.
What happens though, if that information is wrong, or completely unavailable? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)the microchip only works if it is registered and kept up to date. Thus “Check the Chip Day” was born. Founded by AVMA and the American Hospital Animal Association (AHAA) with support from Home Again, “Check the Chip Day” is a friendly reminder to log on to your micro-chip manufacturer’s provided website and ensure that your address and phone number are current. In some databases you’re even able to update your pet’s medical history, so as to provide a full picture of exactly what might be needed the moment they’re brought into an animal rescue or veterinarian’s office.
How often does the chip really make a difference though? According to a study conducted by the AVMA of the 7,700 stray animals brought in less than a quarter of those dogs without microchips were able to be reunited with their families. Of those dogs that were micro-chipped, over 50% were successfully scanned and matched back up to their forever homes. In regards to cats, the results were even more shocking. Less than 2% of our non-microchipped feline friends were able to be returned to their owners, where as their microchipped peers were reunited over 40% of the time. If the microchip information on file had always been correct, the success gap would have been even greater.
Follow these easy steps to ensure your pet is chipped and your information is up to date:
- Micro-chip your pet – During your cat or dog’s first veterinary appointment check to see if they are already micro-chipped. If they are not, make this worthwhile investment to their future safety.
- Register the chip – Immediately after the chip is installed, be sure to register it. The chip only works if it has been registered by the pet’s owner.
- Annually check the chip – Make updating your contact information an annual habit to ensure that your phone number and address are never incorrect.
If you’re unsure if your pet is micro-chipped be sure to ask your friendly neighborhood veterinarian to check during their next office visit. They can easily scan your pet to find out if a micro-chip is present, as well as write down the chip’s ID and manufacturer’s name for you. Once you get home, please don’t forget to look up your pet’s unique microchip ID number and ensure that your contact information is up to date. DoodyCalls regularly stumbles across stray pets while out in the field. We know that micro-chipping your dog and cat, is a huge step in preventing future heartbreak.