Over the past 12 months, I’ve met several dog owners in my neighborhood who have either never heard of microchipping a dog or simply don’t think it’s necessary. As a rescue advocate and resident of New York City, this astonishes me.
According to Home Again, 10 million pets are lost each year and 1 in 3 pets will get lost in their lifetime. I see first-hand the huge number of dogs that are picked up by Animal Care & Control and brought to the New York City shelters each week, so these stats do not surprise me.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. A microchip is a small computer chip (about the size of a grain of rice) with a unique identification number that is implanted by needle under the skin between a pet’s shoulder blades. It only takes a few seconds and it’s similar to a vaccination shot. I’ve seen plenty of dogs get microchipped and the procedure is painless. Most vets can implant a microchip for a small fee (usually around $45), and both vets and shelters are all equipped with scanners to quickly read the microchip number on a stray pet. The best thing about microchips is that they’re permanent and last a lifetime. So, if your pet gets loose and their tags or collar get lost, the microchip can be absolutely vital in recovering your loved one. (Yes, cats should be microchipped too)!
Registering the microchip with a national pet recovery service like Home Again or Avid is the most important part of the process and keeping your contact information up to date with whichever service you choose is essential. My very own Frenchy and Shelby were both found as strays. In Frenchy’s case, she actually had a microchip. Frenchy was put on what shelters call “ID hold” to wait for the owner to claim her, but nobody ever came. It’s possible that her previous owners had not updated their information with the pet recovery service. For this reason, Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue (they always microchip dogs before they are sent to a foster or forever home) includes their rescue as a secondary contact on microchip registration forms.
Many states in the U.S. require breeders to microchip their puppies before shipping them out to pet stores. So, a puppy may begin its journey in Ohio, travel to a New Jersey pet store, and end up with a family in Pennsylvania. That same dog may get loose a few years later and the microchip (if not updated) will trace back to a breeder in Ohio. Scenarios like this are played out every day and contribute to the high number of lost dogs.
My challenge to all of my readers and followers this week is to confirm that your latest contact information is officially registered with a national pet recovery service!
If you are interested in Nova, Bonnie, or Pecan Pie Penny (pictured above), please contact Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue located in Queens, New York.