Spring is the time for outdoor activities, as we enjoy the warmth after a cold winter. Your pet probably feels the same, but he or she may also think it’s time to try to escape the house or take a nice long hike somewhere, without you. If your pet has ever escaped and wandered off to go exploring on his or her own, it’s time to consider getting it micro-chipped. May is National Chip Your Pet Month, and Dr. Arnie Cary, DVM, board member of The Animal Haven, wants you to know that chipping your pet is the best way to assure a happy ending to a lost-pet story. “We’ve heard many stories of pets who have strayed from their owners, and been returned to them because they were micro-chipped,” says Dr. Cary. “Unfortunately, there are many more stories that don’t end so happily, because people don’t take advantage of micro-chipping.”
Micro-chipping is easy and relatively inexpensive. The chips are about the size of a piece of rice and are injected, like a vaccination, into the loose skin over the animal’s shoulder blades (usually a very insensitive area). No anesthesia is necessary. Think of a micro-chip as your pet’s social security number. If he or she is picked up, the chip will be read by a scanner used at veterinary offices, emergency facilities, and shelters. The scanner gives a code that identifies the chip company where the owner information is registered, and you’ll get a call about your pet’s whereabouts.
While there are micro-chipping clinics you can go to, your best bet is to ask your veterinarian for information on how to get your pet chipped. And it’s important to remember that micro-chipping is a TWO-step process. After being implanted, the chip MUST be registered in order for the chip company to know who to call. Be sure that the information is sent to the company after the chip is implanted and updated if you move.
A collar with your pet’s name and your contact information can, of course, also result in a reunion with your wanderer. But unlike an implanted micro-chip, a collar can fall off or be removed, so it doesn’t offer the same protection. As Dr. Cary says, “A microchip is the only permanent way, and is the safest way, to identify your wayward pet.” As the weather gets better and better, don’t let the unnecessary loss of pet put a damper on your enjoyment of the spring.