Every year, thousands of lost pets end up in shelters. Some of these are reunited with their families due to the owner’s persistence in contacting the shelters daily. Those with microchips, however, are usually returned much more quickly. One of the best methods of finding the pet’s owner is through a microchip.
A microchip is a small transmitter the size of a grain of rice. It is easily implanted under the skin with a needle. These are usually injected around the shoulder blade region and, unlike some older microchips, stay in the same location and do not migrate. Each microchip has an individual number which is read by a scanner as it is passed over the area.
After a microchip is implanted, a registration form with the owner’s and pet’s information must be sent to the microchip company so that the information can be kept on file. When a chip is scanned at a veterinary clinic or shelter, the microchip company is contacted and the owner can be found.
A microchip cannot be used to track an animal. It only transmits when a scanner is passed directly over it. Collars with GPS transmitters can be used for tracking but these are big, expensive, and can come off or lose power.
Both dogs and cats have been returned because of their microchips. My own dog was returned within hours since she had a chip. Countless others are brought in only to be found not to have a microchip. This is frustrating since it takes a lot more time and effort to find the owner. In addition to a collar and tags, microchipping can be economical insurance against lost pets. Just don’t forget to update contact information if you move or change phone numbers.