cat microchip shutterstock_200078717The loss of a family pet can be devastating and the statistics show that most pets do escape from their owners at some point in their lives. Put it all together and you’d rather not think about what could quite possibly happen, would you! But the chances of losing your pet permanently can indeed be minimized if you take a few precautions. We have several pet identification options to help you recover a lost or stolen pet.

The three most effective methods are:

  • Microchips (Passive Electronic transponders) – we use AVID brand
  • Tattoos (in certain cases)
  • Identification Tags – we use 24/7 Pet Return brand tags

Although a collar with an identification tag is still the first line of defense, many argue that microchip implants are the best way to ensure the safety of your companion animal.

What about Tattooing? Tattooing pets with a number – often the owner’s social security number – is another method of identifying pets, especially dogs. However, veterinarians and pet rescue experts say tattoos can blur over time, making them difficult to read, and they can be altered. It’s possible, says the AKC, that duplicate tattoo numbers exist. A microchip provides a permanent form of identification with a unique number that cannot be altered.

How does microchipping work? A microchip is placed under the pet’s skin between the shoulder blades using a special sterile syringe and needle. The chip is slightly smaller than a grain of rice and cannot be felt or seen once it is inserted.

After insertion, a hand held scanner will display the microchip number when it is passed over the animal’s back. The Microchip manufacturer, or a subcontractor, maintains a database of microchip information that matches microchip numbers with owners. They provide this service for any implanted animal, not just for dogs and cats and not just for registered purebred animals. Almost all local municipal animal shelters, humane societies and animal clinics have scanners and they check all the stray dogs and cats that they find.

Microchips are permanent and they will function for the life of your pet. They provide a legal means of proving ownership.

Most dogs, cats, ferrets and medium to large size birds can be implanted with a microchip without any type of anesthesia. They don’t seem to experience any more discomfort than they would if they were receiving a regular vaccination. Small or squirmy pets may benefit from some brief sedation during the one or two minutes it takes to implant the microchip.

Many clients elect to have their pet microchipped while he or she is being spayed, neutered, or having their teeth cleaned, or for some other reason they are going to be anesthetized.

The cost is less than $50 for the microchip and about $14 or so for initial registration of the microship’s serial number. Note that Assistance animals – dogs that assist the handicapped – can be enrolled in the recovery program for free. Still not sure about microchipping? Consider the following statistics from the Humane Society of the United States:

  • Every year, between 8 and 10 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters.
  • Some 4 to 5 million of these animals that enter the shelter system are eventually euthanized because there are not enough homes for them.
  • Less than 5% of cats and 14% of dogs that enter the shelter system will be reunited with their owners.

Call us at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group and consider it done!