According to the ASPCA, more than 6.5 million pets end up in shelters every year. Sadly, about 1.5 million are euthanized. Although the number of euthanized pets has been on a downward trend, it is heartbreaking. No pet (or pet owner) should experience it. Thankfully, technologies such as microchips help to increase lost pet/owner reunions. This research by the Ohio State University attributes 73 percent of reunions to microchipping.
Currently, pet microchipping is not mandatory in most states in the US. But there are signs that we could be heading that way soon. Ten states have already taken that step, and many others are warming up to it. Shelters dedicated to happy reunions and adoptions are often for it. But blind buy-in is not wise. We would like you to know about microchipping and make the best decisions concerning your pet’s identification.
Here are the facts about microchipping your pet.
What is microchipping, and how does it work?
Microchipping entails implanting a small electronic chip - about the size of a grain of rice - under the skin of your pet. The most common position is the back - right under the neck and between the shoulder blades. Once the microchip is in, it stays in the pet’s body throughout the pet’s life. The microchip has a unique number that is detectable by a microchip scanner. The number links to a database registry that contains details about the animal and the owner.
Microchipping works much like the barcodes on products in supermarkets. Vets and shelters can scan the animal, discover its details and contact you. So you need to ensure that your information on the database is correct and up to date. The database could also contain vital information about the animal’s health. For instance, it may have information about vaccinations and whether the animal is spayed or neutered.
Contrary to what many pet owners believe, pet microchips are not GPS tracking devices. Microchipping does not substitute a GPS device. Whereas a GPS may give you information about your pet’s location, a vet or an animal shelter must scan the pet to get information about the owner and animal from the microchip. Therefore, it is a complimentary device.
It is a quick and painless procedureWhen you take your pet for microchipping, the handler will use a needle (or needle-like instrument) to insert the rice grain-size chip under the skin between the shoulder blades. Vets should do it. However, a well-trained person (even if they are not a vet) can do it as well. It is a quick procedure that takes a few seconds. However, you will need to fill in some paperwork which may take a while.
Microchipping is not exclusive to dogs, cats, and other mammals. Other animals including reptiles and birds, can be microchipped. But the size of the pet matters. For young animals, the chip might be too large and uncomfortable. However, larger animals would not feel uncomfortable.
The procedure is almost painless. The needle may look large. But it is not different from needles used to draw blood. Your pet may not even flinch when it happens.
There are no privacy concernsThe microchip does not contain your details. It only carries a unique number that links back to a database. A vet or animal shelter must scan the chip and use their credentials to access the pet’s information in the database. Therefore privacy concerns are non-existent with microchips. Details in the database are the same as what you wrote when filling out the paperwork.
It is essential to update your contact details regularly.
Microchips are hard to remove or damageMicrochips are durable. They can withstand any condition and last throughout the lifetime of the pet. However, there are instances where severe trauma on the shoulder blades can damage the chip. But these are rare.
The microchips are also tiny and would be nearly impossible to remove. So, once you have microchipped your pet, Catvills say that you need to consider it a lifetime identification solution.
It is safe for the animal?
Microchipping does not trigger disease or allergic reactions. However, there are reports of cases where a pet, or an animal, had an allergic reaction or developed an ailment after microchipping.
Some animals have developed tumors around the location of the microchip implants. But these are incredibly rare and far in between. Compared to the vast number of healthy microchipped pets, the risk is almost nil.
Scanty or incomprehensible identification information makes it harder to unite lost pets with their owners. Microchipping is a painless, easy, safe, and inexpensive way to identify your pet.
These facts will help you learn more about this type of identification and make an informed decision.
Remember, it is essential to keep your contact details up to date in the database so that the vet or animal shelter that finds the lost pet can get in touch ASAP. Likewise, if you transfer the pet to a new owner, update the details on the database.