Many pet owners underestimate the benefits of microchipping their pets. Microchipping is an inexpensive way to reunite lost pets with their owners, reduce stress levels on lost animals, and alleviate shelter overcrowding.
According to the American Humane Association, more than 10 million cats and dogs are estimated to be lost or stolen each year in the United States Unfortunately, Ohio State University found that just five to eight percent of animals in the U.S. are microchipped.
If you have lost your microchipped pet, you stand a better chance of finding your cat or dog due to your decision to microchip.
However, there are several important steps you should immediately take to further increase your odds of finding your lost or stolen pet.
What Is a Pet Microchip?
As an owner of a microchipped pet, it’s important to fully understand what a microchip is and how it works. A pet microchip is a tiny electronic chip that is implanted under an animal’s skin by a veterinarian. Each microchip contains a unique number that appears on a scanning device when a pet is scanned for a microchip. The vet then uses this number in a microchip lookup to find the owner’s contact information in a database.
Microchips use radio frequency technology and do not require batteries. Instead, a microchip contains a radio receiver and transponder that sends the microchip’s unique number to the scanner. Along with most vet offices, animal shelters and similar organizations often carry microchip scanners to scan stray animals. Microchips often last the lifetime of a cat or dog, meaning they do not have to be replaced.
Steps to Take If Your Pet Is Lost
1. Update the Microchipping Company
When you registered your cat or dog with a microchipping company, you were likely provided with login details to an online portal. Signing into this portal allows pet owners to update their contact information, add a detailed description of their pet, including important medical history, and upload photos. These portals also allow pet owners to report their pets as missing.
As soon as you find out that your pet is missing or stolen, log into the portal and report this information to the microchipping company. This will alert anyone who scans your pet that he or she has been reported stolen, lost, or missing. If you cannot find your login details or are not sure what microchipping company you used, contact the vet office where your pet had the procedure done.
2. Contact Local Animal Shelters and Vet Hospitals
When your pet is lost or stolen, the more people that know about it, the better. Contact animal shelters and vet hospitals in your area and ask them if any animals matching your pet’s description have recently been brought in. Ask the shelter or vet hospital to contact you if someone does bring in an animal that matches your pet’s description.
3. Spread the Word Online
Once you have contacted the proper parties about your pet’s disappearance, it’s time to recruit help from others. Start by asking friends, family, and neighbors in person, then create a missing pet post on lost pet websites, such as PetFBI.org.
Next, use social media to publish photos and information about your lost pet, including his name, age, breed, color, patterns, and any distinctive markings or characteristics. Include your contact information in the post, as well as your location so people know where to look. Ask others to kindly share your post.
4. Place Some of Your Pet’s Belongings Outside
Sometimes pets wander off and become disoriented, even when they are not too far from home. You can help your pet find his way back by putting items outside that have a familiar scent, such as pet beds, toys, and litter boxes. Avoid leaving food outdoors as this could attract other animals to your property that could potentially scare off your own pet.
5. Be Persistent and Optimistic
It’s easy to feel scared and overwhelmed when a beloved pet goes missing or is stolen. However, it’s important not to give up! Each day, continue to reach out to people in your area, such as pet groomers, police officers, pet stores, and others who can help keep a lookout.
Today, there is a wealth of technology designed to help lost and stolen pets reunite with their owners. Staying optimistic can give you the motivation to continue spreading the word about your missing pet. If you hear of any sightings, be sure to update everyone who may be helping you search.
Finding Your Microchipped Pet
Along with microchipping, there are other ways you can increase your odds of finding your lost or stolen pet. A pet ID tag can be attached to your dog or cat’s collar that includes your contact information. A Digital ID tag, like ThePetTag from Pet Assure, can make the process even easier. It contains a custom QR code that can be scanned with any smartphone to access your pet’s online profile and emergency contact information.