The simplest, and most effective way to ensure the safety of your pet in the event they are lost, or wander is to make sure they are microchipped. In the United States there are approximately 6.5 million companion animals admitted to shelters annually. Of those 6.5 million companion animals, the ASPCA estimates approximately 1.5 million companion animals are euthanized. Looking at the data above presents a compelling argument as to why you should microchip your pet.
What is a microchip:
The RSPCA defines a microchip as a “permanent method of electronic identification.” At just about 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, or wander. Microchips are implanted in 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 is placed between the shoulder blades of your pet for easy scanning and location purposes. 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 primary advantage of investing in a microchip is the proven increase in the likelihood you and your pet will be reunited in the event they wander or are lost. 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 should be able to easily and quickly identify your pet and, provided the contact information is up-to-date, get in contact with the owner (you).
Another advantage to microchipping is the affordability. Petfinder estimates the average cost of microchipping is a $45 one-time fee to implant the microchip and to register your pet in national databases 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. However, it is advisable that you make sure your pet is microchipped prior to adoption or purchase to avoid any lapse in coverage for your pet.
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 if you have moved or changed phone numbers.
Spread the word! Make sure you let all potential pet-owners know about the benefits of a microchip and encourage them to get the procedure done. Your efforts could save someone’s pet from losing their family!