Plan now to stop the heartbreak later: Why you should get a Pet Microchip.
Microchip your Pet
Why get a pet microchip? For many of us, our pets are like our family. So when our dog or cat is lost, we’ll do just about anything to find it. Unfortunately, it takes only a moment to lose track of your pet, and as a result over 10 million dogs and cats go missing in the United States every year. Many are never found.
The good news is that with recent advances in technology, we now have more options to turn to when looking for our pet. Here are some of the most common animal retrieval methods, as well as some of their advantages and disadvantages.
A Pet Microchip is similar to a GPS chip, however a microchip is implanted internally under the animal’s
skin rather than attached to a collar. This way, there is no possibility of it being separated from the animal. The implantation process takes only seconds and requires no anesthesia; the chip is inserted into the animal with a syringe. The chip does not track the animal but rather provides it with a unique ID that can be detected with a handheld RFID reader. These IDs are connected to the owners’ names and contact information by an animal recovery registry. There are multiple such registries, but they almost all use the Internet to make it easier for the vet or shelter handling the animal to obtain the data they need. Animals with a microchip often wear collars to alert individuals that they have one; however, as microchips are implanted in standard locations, these are not necessary.
Using a Pet Microchip have several advantages over other recovery methods. Unlike possibly unreliable descriptions or pictures, the microchip gives every animal a different ID, making it impossible to mistake one animal for another. In addition, unlike with signs or Internet posts, contact information is directly assigned to the chip, ensuring that it cannot be misplaced. Unlike GPS chips, microchips have no danger of being separated from the missing animal. Microchips are also quite cheap, and lifetime registry access and assistance are included with the one-time fee. Finally, a microchip lasts for the lifetime of the animal and never needs to be replaced.
Microchips have become increasingly popular and are recommended by vets and shelters alike, who make it a standard practice to scan each incoming animal for a chip. This way, no pets are mistaken for strays and can immediately be reunited with their owners. Microchips are proven to be effective in helping find missing pets. Missing dogs with pet microchips are over 200 percent more likely to be found than dogs without, and missing cats with pet microchips are over 2000 percent more likely to be found than cats without.
One of the simplest and most common ways to look for a lost pet is to go door-to-door in the neighborhood where it was last seen. Owners of pets give their neighbors a description of the pet, or provide a picture, and ask if they have seen it. This method requires footwork and patience, but if you know the dog or cat can’t have gone far, it may be effective.
If the animal has been gone for some time, however, this tactic may fail as it may be outside the immediate area where it was lost. In addition, though a neighbor may have seen the animal, if they did not catch it, knowing where it was last may be of little use in recovering it.
Animal shelters sometimes come across missing animals among the usual strays they capture. Owners will often call or visit these shelters in the hopes of finding their missing companion. While this may be a useful first step in the retrieval process, many areas have hundreds of stray animals and the odds of finding one among many can be low.
In addition, most of these shelters rely on government or donor funds and have only volunteers for staff, making it difficult for them to sort through animals with no identification.
Another classic retrieval method involves the use of signs. Owners will hang signs with a description and perhaps a picture of the animal around the neighborhood, hoping that someone who has seen or caught it will also see the sign.
This route, however, has some of the same downfalls as going door-to-door. Often information neighbors may have will be outdated and therefore of little use. Signs, however, do have an advantage over going door-to-door as signs can easily be placed outside the vicinity where the animal disappeared.
The Internet is a growing tool in the search for missing cats and dogs. Unlike traditional paper signs, Internet posts about lost animals reach a broad audience. They also don’t require an individual to stop while they are driving or walking to view the notice. Many animal shelters and other animal organizations post notices on missing pets on their websites.
In addition, individuals concerned with animal welfare are increasingly turning to social media. Owners of missing animals and animal groups can post messages on their social media, which ensures that their friends and neighbors are the first to see them. This method has some of the same natural disadvantages as going door-to-door and signs, however.
Owners also take advantage of technology by using global positioning chips and receivers to look for missing animals. These chips are attached to the animal externally, such as on a collar. The chip connects to satellites, which in turn connect to a receiver that allows the owner to track the animal.
The advantage of these devices is that they allow owners to narrow in on the exact location of their cat or dog, making retrieval easier. Some of the GPS chips have a limited radius, however, so it is important to know how far the animal might stray. In addition, since the chips are attached externally to the animal, they may be forgotten, misplaced or even ripped off the collar. Finally, the chip and receiver systems are quite expensive, often costing over $500.
The best way to ensure that you don’t lose your furry companions is to be prepared in advance. Preventative measures are easy, quick and cheap; finding your pets after they have gone missing is can be time-consuming as well as expensive. You can avoid heartbreak later by taking a few simple actions now. Make sure your pets always wear identifying collars, even when they are indoors. Take frequent pictures of your pets. Most importantly a pet microchip is one of the most reliable and inexpensive ways to help you find it when missing. Get your cats and dogs a Pet microchip and keep your contact information updated.