Importance of Microchipping

The American Humane Society estimates that between four and eight million dogs and cats end up in shelters every year, and approximately half of them are euthanized. Contrary to popular belief, most of these animals are not strays. They are beloved family pets that slipped away from their owners and can't find their way back home. That is because they had no identification at all or the information was outdated. Microchips, which are about the size of a grain of rice and are implanted under an animal's fur, help people and their pets avoid such a sad fate.

Microchips Must Be Registered

The microchip itself contains only an identification number. When a person finds a lost pet, he or she usually brings it to the nearest veterinary clinic so the staff can check the animal for a microchip. Many people mistakenly believe that the chip contains an owner's name, address, and telephone number. However, the pet owner must register the microchip in a national database in order for that information to display. Unfortunately, a lot of people overlook this step or forget to update their contact information when they move.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a pet microchip is not a Global Positioning System (GPS). That means owners won't automatically know where their lost pet is just because he or she has a microchip.

Microchipping is Fast and Painless

The entire process of implanting a pet microchip takes just a few minutes. It isn't any more uncomfortable for a dog or cat than a typical vaccination. With an average cost of approximately $45, it's also relatively inexpensive. Microchips also last up to 25 years, outliving the pet in most cases. While the traditional collar and identification tags provide some protection for lost pets, they can slip off easily and leave the pet with no identification at all. A registered microchip with current information is the best way for a beloved pet to be reunited with his or her family.

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