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A third of all family pets will get lost at some point during their lives. Parents of skittish pets can attest to the fact that many make a break for it on a regular basis. Loud noises from fireworks can exacerbate this issue during the summer months, but pets get separated from their families all year round. That’s why microchips have become a must-have piece of technology for dog and cat lovers across the nation.
Veterinarians implant these small, electronic devices through a minimally-invasive procedure. Once the chip is in place, its serial number is added to at least one of several databases alongside the pet owner’s contact information.
Microchip Fast Facts
The American Veterinary Medical Association and HomeAgain, a manufacturer of microchips, have collected survey data from pet owners over the last several years. They provide a snapshot of microchip efficacy:
- Only 10% of lost pets ever return home without the help of identification.
- Just 6 in 10 microchips are registered in a database.
- Microchipped dogs are twice as likely to return home and microchipped cats are more than twenty times more likely to return home than animals without microchips.
While they’re not a guarantee, microchips dramatically increase the chances of a reunion with your lost dog or cat. Providing for thousands and thousands of homecomings, they’ve led to many inspiring stories. Some pets, the AVMA reports, have returned home despite traveling thousands of miles and experiencing months of separation.
National Check the Chip Day
In 2017, the AVMA and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) teamed up to introduce National Check the Chip Day. After all, it’s not enough to get a pet microchipped and hope for the best. If that microchip isn’t accurately registered in the appropriate database, it could wind up being useless. The holiday (August 15th) is intended to promote discussions about microchips between vets and their clients and encourage pet lovers to keep their contact information up to date.
Checking your pet’s microchip couldn’t be simpler. Dr. Mike Topper, president of the AVMA, notes, “It takes less than two minutes to check and update your contact information, and this small act can make all the difference.”
How to Check Your Pet’s Chip
Want to celebrate National Check the Chip Day? It could be as simple as logging into the manufacturer’s database or looking up your pet’s microchip number with the Universal Pet Microchip Lookup tool. The majority of microchip manufacturers — including 24PetWatch, AKC Companion Animal Recovery, and HomeAgain — include their information in this database. At least one manufacturer (Avid), however, exclusively maintains its own database.
If you can’t remember your brand of microchip or your pet’s identification number, contact your veterinarian to find out. They’ll provide the necessary information to log on, check your pet’s registration status, and update your contact information. At most, you’ll need to register with the manufacturer’s database to ensure your pet is on the books — that’s not much work for peace of mind.
Bringing home a new dog or cat? Learn more about how the quick, painless, and inexpensive microchipping process can take some of the stress out of pet parenthood.