So, you picked the right pup for you. Now, you must make sure they are safe! The simplest way to ensure the safety of your pet is to make sure that they are microchipped. In the United States, 6.5 million companion animals go to shelters every year and 1.5 million of these animals end up euthanized. Looking at the data above presents a compelling argument on microchipping your pet.
What is a microchip:
The RSPCA defines a microchip as a “permanent method of electronic identification.” At the size of a grain of rice, the microchip is a non-invasive and permanent safeguard against the possibility of your pet going unidentified if they are lost. Microchips implant into the animal subcutaneously – below the surface of the skin – via a hypodermic needle comparable to those used during routine injections for your pet. The microchip goes between the shoulder blades of your pet for easy scanning. The RSPCA also states, “Each chip has a unique number that is detected using a microchip scanner. The microchip number is recorded on a microchip database registry with details about the animal and the owner.”
Advantages of a microchip:
The main benefit of microchipping a pet is that it will be returned home. Based on a 2009 study from ScienceDaily, “the return-to-owner rate for cats was 20 times higher and for dogs 2 ½ times higher for microchipped pets than were the rates of return for all stray cats and dogs that had entered the shelters.” Every veterinary office or animal shelter will be able to easily and quickly identify your pet and get in contact with the owner.
Another advantage of microchipping is affordability. Petfinder estimates that the average cost of microchipping is a $45 one-time fee to implant the microchip. Afterward, you must register your pet in a national database for identification purposes. When compared to traditional identification methods such as physical ID tags which cost, on average $12 (not including the collar) it is easy to justify microchipping. The permanent nature of a microchip compared to the impermanence of a physical ID tag illustrates the value of microchipping. For less than $0.13 per day (over the first year) you can rest assured that your pet can be identified in case of emergencies.
Ease of installation is another advantage of microchips. With a quick and relatively pain-free procedure, the process of implanting a microchip is something that can be done during routinely scheduled veterinary visits. The entire process takes less than a minute and will not cause your pet any undue stress or harm. The best time to microchip a pet is when it is a puppy or kitten.
Contact your local veterinarian or animal shelter to get a quote on pricing for a microchip; if your pet does not already have one implanted. If your pet does have the microchip already, make sure you have updated your contact information.
Spread the word! Tell pet owners about the benefits of microchipping your pet! Your efforts could save someone’s pet from losing their family!