Is your pet's microchip up-to-date? If your pet were lost, would an animal hospital or shelter be able to contact you once your pet was found?
It's important to get your pet microchipped; but it's just as important to make sure that microchip contains the correct information in order for your four-legged friend to get home.
That's why the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) are teaming up to encourage pet owners to update their pet's microchip information on National Check the Chip Day, Aug. 15.
Almost 9.6 million pets are euthanized every year because their owners can't be found, according to the American Humane Association. While tags and collars are important, microchipping is a valuable method because the microchip won't wear out, tear, slip off or become lost.
How does a microchip work?
The microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is injected by a veterinarian or veterinary technician just beneath your pet's skin in the area between the shoulder blades. This is usually done without anesthesia, and the experience can be compared to getting a vaccination.
Each microchip has a unique registration number that is entered into a database or registry, and is associated with your name and contact information. If your lost dog or cat is found by an animal hospital, shelter or humane society, they will use a microchip scanner to read the number and contact the registry to get your information.
Make sure you can be found, too
While it may be comforting to know the microchip won't get lost or damaged, and that it will probably last the pet's lifetime, the microchip is useless if you're not updating your contact information with the registry. If your pet has been microchipped, keep the documentation paperwork so you can find the contact information for the registry. If you don't have the documentation paperwork, contact the veterinarian or shelter where the chip was implanted.
Keep in mind there are more than a dozen companies that maintain databases of chip ID numbers in the U.S. By using AAHA's Universal Pet Microchip Lookup at petmicrochiplookup.org, you can locate the registry for your chip by entering the microchip ID number. If you don't have your pet's microchip ID number, have a veterinarian scan it and give it to you.
Only about 17% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats ever find their way back to their owners. Prevent the heartache and ensure your pet has an up-to-date microchip.
Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Micah Young