By Dr. Emily Wilson
Unfortunately, about 10 million pets are lost or stolen every year in the United States. Moving, distractions, emergencies and natural disasters can all result in lost pets. If a collar and tags are removed, fall off or become hard to read, there’s no way to trace your pet to you. This makes the chances of being reunited with you and your family slim to none. Choosing to microchip your pet is one of the best things you can do to ensure your pet is returned to you safely. Additionally, keeping the information up to date is critical as that is the only way to contact you if your pet is found.
What is a microchip?
Microchips are tiny radio-frequency identification implants that last your entire pet's life. Unlike tracking devices, microchips won’t tell you your pet’s location. Rather, when they are scanned, they contain your pet’s unique identification number. This number is then called in to a pet recovery service (here at Fuzzy we use Found Animals) which will contact you using the information you have on file. So, Step 1: get your pet microchipped. Step 2: make sure you register your pet’s microchip with a pet recovery service. The contact information on file should always be up to date – this is really important.
How do I get my pet microchipped?
A veterinarian will typically charge a one-time fee of $25 – $50 for microchipping, and in most cases the fee includes registration in a pet recovery database. Implantation is no more painful for your pet than a routine vaccination. It is administered in a similar fashion, between the pet's shoulder blades.
How do I keep the information up to date?
Pets that are adopted from a shelter or purchased from breeders usually come with a previously implanted microchip. If you’re not sure if your pet already has a microchip, ask your vet to scan for one or consult your adoption paperwork. There are more than ten different companies that register microchips in the US.
Once you have your pet's microchip number, you can look it up using the American Animal Hospital's Lookup Tool. This tool will tell you which microchip registry your pet's microchip uses. You may then contact the registry to update your contact information (we recommend at least two phone numbers and an email address).
Questions about microchipping or updating microchip registry information? Chat with the Fuzzy Veterinary Team to get answers. Fuzzy Membership includes microchipping and lifetime registration with Found Animals.