Well over 6 – 8 million animals wind up at local shelters yearly. Sadly, only 15-20% of dogs and less than 2% of cats are ever reclaimed by their owners. From those numbers it is said that in just one year, more than 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized at U.S. animal shelters [source:HSUS]. That’s approximately half of all cats and dogs that enter shelters.
No matter how well trained a companion pet may be, there is always an opportunity that may arise for the inquisitive or fear flight of that animal. You know … the senior dog who is 10+ wanders out of the screen door to which the latch did not close properly. Maybe the cat that never goes outside is nearby while you are washing windows on a beautiful day. You knock over a vase that lands in the cats direction, scaring the cat nearly out of it’s fur and the only avenue of escape in the cat’s mind, is the open low placed window. Your beautiful exotic bird or intriguing reptile are allowed to have some free time out of their cage and, surprise, your child runs into the door not knowing the pet was out on free time.
By now, point is probably well taken as to the panic mode you will experience as your pet escapes just inches from your frantic grip or even worse, you discover they are missing at a later time. After hours of searching the streets for your lost pet, you return home to only feel even worse as you wish you had some sort of an identifier on your pet if someone does find them.
Microchip implants are the most surefire, permanent identification for your pet. Yes, even in your ferret, bird or reptile! Tags are a great quick way to identify a dog or cat, but how often do they fall off or how many people don’t keep a collar with a tag on their cats and dogs in house. Fearing it may catch on something in the home & cause more harm than good? With a microchip, there are no worries, unless of course Cruella decides to have a surgical procedure performed on your little dog to have the microchip removed. Not likely, but again, possibly.
A microchip is no bigger than a grain of rice, and veterinarians can implant the chips into all kinds of pets. There is a unique number assigned to each microchip that is located in a database that lists the name and contact information of a pet’s owner.
The veterinary clinic that purchased the microchip is listed. Of course, if immediately upon acquiring your pet or having the chip implanted, you contact the company to ensure your information is listed as the immediate contact, you will be first notified and able to retrieve your pet quickly, rather than have it sit in a scary shelter for possibly 24 or more hours before you are tracked down.
Interestingly, the idea still isn’t popular in the U.S., where only about 5 percent of the approximately 130 million dogs and cats are micro chipped [source: Springen, USDA]. Yet, in Europe, pet microchips are more standard and about a quarter of European pets have a microchip.
During your pets annual visit to the veterinary office, make sure you have the microchip tested by your veterinarian to determine if the chip is still transmitting properly. Then confirm your pet’s information with the microchip database and ensure that all contact information is current.
TIP: Call around and price the procedure. You may be surprised at the vast differences you will find.
WebMD veterinary expert answers commonly asked questions about micro chipping your dog or cat. http://pets.webmd.com/features/microchipping-your-dog-or-cat