Thursday Is National Check the Chip Day

[lost pet flier]

Like most pet owners, I can’t imagine the horror of having my pet lost or stolen. It’s scary and difficult to think about someone finding my little Sadie and having no way to contact me! That’s why, when she was a puppy, I had her microchipped. I wanted to take every precaution to bring her back home in the event we are separated.

I have personally witnessed many dogs and cats that were separated from their owners. I’ve seen the fear and confusion in their eyes. They seem to be wondering where they are, why they are surrounded by strangers, and how they will ever can get back home to the familiar faces and smells.

Then, with a quick scan and phone call, they are back with their loved ones, happy as can be and spoiled rotten again!

Happy endings like these are why microchips are so important for your pets. I have heard so many owners voice their regret at not having their pets microchipped, which is why I urge all of you to have it done. Microchips don’t eliminate the value of a collar or ID tag, but they can make a huge difference when it comes to reuniting lost pets with their families.

A common misconception I hear about microchips is that they are like a GPS. This is not the case. You cannot track a microchip. Rather, when the microchip is scanned, you can obtain information about the pet (usually by contacting the manufacturer who has the registration information).

For this reason, it is very important to keep the registration information accurate. If you move or change your contact information, you should contact the microchip manufacturer to update your pet’s information.

Below are some facts about microchips, provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). With support from HomeAgain, these organizations established and publicized “Check the Chip Day,” celebrated on August 15.

  • 1 in 3 family pets will get lost
  • Only 6 out of 10 microchips are registered
  • Microchipped dogs are more than twice as likely to be returned to their owners
  • Microchipped cats are more than 20 times more likely to be returned to their owners

And now some happy successful reunion news: To date, HomeAgain has reunited more than two million pets with their owners, including a dog named Gidget, that was found in Portland, Ore., more than 2,500 miles from her home in Pittsburgh, Pa., and a cat in California named George that was reunited with his family after 13-year separation!

Celebrate “Check the Chip Day” by:

  • Making an appointment for microchipping, if your pet isn’t already microchipped. (Then make sure that your pet’s chip is immediately registered.)
  • Checking the accuracy of your already-microchipped pet’s registration information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.
  • Updating your pet’s microchip registration information if needed.

Please visit this AVMA website for additional information about Check the Chip Day, including a list of microchip manufacturers included in the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool:

I hope I have convinced all of you how important it is to have your pet microchipped! If you have any questions about what having a microchip placed entails, if you would like us to check your pet for a microchip, or if you would like to schedule an appointment to have a microchip placed, please contact us.

—Amber Slaughter, DVM

Photo by Ewan Munro

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