A tabby cat in the outdoors

When you adopt a pet from an animal shelter or rescue, they are almost always microchipped. That’s because those of us in the veterinary field understand the incredible power of this tiny piece of technology to reunite lost pets with their loving families.

Studies show that 1 in 3 pets will go missing at some point in their lives. Out of the hundreds of thousands who wind up in animal shelters each year, many are never returned to their owners. 

Pet microchips are slowly turning this sad statistic around, one pet at a time.

Wave of the Future

A microchip is a tiny computer chip encapsulated in a biocompatible glass. A hypodermic needle is used to implant the device just under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades. Pet microchips are designed to stay in place inside the body, and will not cause any adverse reactions.

Because they don’t utilize GPS technology your pet’s whereabouts cannot be tracked. Microchips rely on radio frequency – activated only when scanned – to reveal the unique ID number assigned to your pet.

The Details

The first thing a shelter or veterinary hospital worker will do when a lost pet arrives is to scan them for a microchip using a handheld scanner. If the pet has been microchipped, their ID number will appear on the scanner screen. The worker can then call the microchip company, who will use the ID number to contact you with the location of your pet.

The most important part of having your pet microchipped is registering the chip with your contact information. 

This can be done using the paperwork provided at the time the chip is implanted or on the microchip company’s website. Every time your name or phone number changes, you must update the chip’s registry.

Why Pet Microchips are so Important

In a survey of 7,700 stray animals living in shelters, it was found that 52% of microchipped dogs were reunited with their owners, as compared to 22% who weren’t microchipped. A whopping 38% of microchipped cats were also returned home, as compared to 2% of cats who had not been chipped.

Besides the wonderful warm fuzzies of finding a missing pet, having your pet microchipped may save their life. Many lost pets are brought to animal shelters or veterinary hospitals injured and in need of medical assistance. Having them microchipped allows the veterinarian to contact owners immediately to secure their consent to begin treatment (beyond life saving measures).

Are you convinced yet? If you have any further questions about pet microchips, or would like to schedule an appointment for your pet, please contact your team at Androscoggin Animal Hospital.