How would you feel if your dog or cat ever went missing? Devastated, I bet! Well, the best way to ensure that you get your pet back if he or she ever goes missing is to get him/her microchipped. A pet microchip is a tiny chip the size of a grain of rice which is injected using a needle under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The chip contains a unique number which can be found using a special scanner. The number is looked up on a database which links the number to the details of the owner. So if your microchipped pet ever goes missing, the person who finds it will hopefully take it to an animal hospital or shelter, where it will be scanned and you can then be contacted and informed that your pet has been found!
So many animals are euthanized yearly, often because they do not have a microchip and cannot be traced to their owners. The chip can be implanted at any age by a qualified implanter. A microchip is not a tracking device, so the pet must actually be scanned in order for the owner to be traced. You should also update your details with the microchip registry whenever you move house or change phone numbers.
There have been very rare reports of tumours forming at microchip sites. In my opinion, so many other things are more likely to lead to cancer and the cases are so rare that the benefits of microchipping far outweigh any potential risk.
A client once told me a story that reinforced to me how important microchipping is. The owner and his wife had acquired Max the crazy Springer Spaniel and his female litter-mate many years ago. When the couple decided to divorce, circumstances forced them to re-home both dogs. About five years later, Max was found on his own, wandering the streets hundreds of kilometers from his original home. His microchip was scanned and our client and his wife were separately tracked down and contacted. The estranged couple began to re-establish contact with each other in order to discuss Max's fate. The result? A reunion of course, not only of Max with his previous owners, but eventually of the owner and his wife to each other!
Is your pet microchipped? Was the microchip ever used? Tell us your story in the comments!