The Importance of Microchipping
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I think I might be the lost dog lady of Auburn. I don’t know what it is, but every lost dog in a ten mile radius seems to wind up in my path. I’m quick to grab the lost pups who cross my path, and try to help them find their way home as quickly as possible, because I know how much I hate the worry I feel when one of our own pets has gone missing. We’ve gone through it more than once at our own house (our Schnauzer, Charlie, is particularly adept at digging out under the fence, and likes to lead the other animals astray with him when he goes on his adventures).
Like most responsible pet owners, we’ve put a collar with ID on all of our pets to make sure they are easily identifiable (yes even your cat needs a collar). The problem is, collars and ID tags are not foolproof, they can break, or fall off, and often get lost. Our sweet Cocker Spaniel, Benedict, is the world champion at losing collars the second he follows Charlie out of the safety of our back yard. And that makes it a LOT harder for him to find his way home. And when a collar goes missing, it can leave your beloved pet among the countless, unidentified strays at an animal shelter, like Lee County Humane Society. LCHS employees witness this sad scenario replay day after day, and it breaks our hearts when we know someone’s furry family member is missing, but we have no idea who to contact. It’s even more frustrating for shelter staff when there is an easy backup method of pet identification that, all too often, isn’t used- Microchipping!
Microchips are tiny computer chips, about the size of a grain of rice, that encode a unique identification number to help reunite you with your lost pet. They are placed under your pet’s skin with a needle and syringe, not much differently than a vaccine. Unlike collars and ID tags, they can never break or fall-off. They work by receiving a radio signal from a scanner and transmitting the encoded chip identification number back to the scanner. With the chip identification number in hand, the vital contact information is only a phone call away. Not surprisingly, at LCHS we LOVE microchips. In fact, every animal adopted at our shelter gets one before they leave with their new owners.
We want every lost animal who makes its way to our shelter to make its way back to their owner. Unfortunately, on average, nationally only 15% of dogs and 2 % of cats were reunited with their owners. Dogs and cats with microchips are MUCH more likely to be returned to their owners than pets without. A 2009 study by Linda Lord, DVM, PhD from the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine reported that cats with microchips were 20 times more likely to be returned home than cats without, while dogs with microchips were 2.5 times more likely to be returned home than those without. Having your pet microchipped is quick and easy and can be done in any veterinarian’s office. It just takes a few minutes, and your pet will likely not even notice it has happened.
In order for a microchip to work, you will need to register the microchip and keep your contact information up-to-date. Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they ultimately depend on the information that you give. So, remember to update your information regularly and provide multiple emergency contacts in case your pet gets lost while you are out of town.
Weekly Wish: We want YOU to get your pet microchipped! Join us on Saturday, June 8th from 9am - 12pm at MAC Animal Clinic at 1345 Opelika Rd #11, Auburn, AL 36830 to get your pet microchipped for only $15! Only cash payment will be accepted, and no other services will be offered during the event. A special thank you to John Killmaster - State Farm Agent who made all of this possible, by helping us receive a grant from State Farm.