How Can A Microchip Help My Pet Get Back Home

 Video Courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Microchipping is one of the most loving things you can do for your pet. A lost pet will experience a tremendous amount of trauma from being separated from its owner, as well as feelings of disorientation as they desperately try to find their way back home. An exuberant pet that inadvertently dashes out into the street when a gate has accidentally been left open is led by instinct and a feeling of freedom to keep exploring. This can cause an animal to stray further and further away from home. If a pet is found and there is no way to determine who the owners are, the founders may decide to keep it for themselves, or take it to an animal shelter. If the pet is not claimed by its owners within a reasonable period of time, it will be put down.

Millions of lost animals turn up at animal shelters every year, most are not returned to their owners and have to be euthenased, as the shelter cannot cope with such large amounts of animals. If a pet has been fitted with a pet microchip the animal shelter will be able to scan the microchip to find the identification number encoded into the chip. This identification number will enable the supplier of the microchip to access the registration of the pet, which contains all the contact information of the owners, and soon the pet can be reunited with its loving family.

Although microchipping will significantly increase the potential of finding your pet if it should get lost, it is only one component in a system involving the microchip, scanners that are able to read the information on the chip, and the registration of the contact details of the owners, as well as a collar with tags which inform someone who finds the pet that it carries a microchip.

How does a microchip work?

A microchip is a very small device, no bigger than a grain of rice, that is contained in a capsule together with an antenna and a capacitator. This capsule is implanted under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades, of a pet. A scanner activates the microchip and the information encoded into the microchip is displayed on a small LCD screen. When you microchip and register your pet, an identification number is linked to your contact information on an online registry, which can be accessed by organizations who own scanners, such as animal shelters, humane organizations, animal hospitals and veterinarians, who will contact you to advise you that your pet has been found.

Owners of pets sometimes forget to update the contact information when their living circumstances change. A microchip is only as effective as the correct contact information it contains, so it is most important to not only microchip your pet, but to register the microchip with the supplier of the device, and then keep your contact information up to date. It is also most important for your pet to wear a collar with a tag, which will tell the person who has found your pet, that it has been microchipped. If the collar is damaged or lost, there is still a chance that someone will take the pet to a place where it can be checked for microchipping.


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