By Ashley Watson
As more and more pet owners are reunited with their pets because of microchips, these devices are now gaining a lot more awareness among pet owners. In fact, the use of this technology has become a standard practice for veterinarians and animal shelters.
Microchips not only help people find their lost pets, but they have also helped shelters return animals to their rightful owners more quickly. In addition to providing relief for the pet owner, locating owners more efficiently helps the shelter prevent overcrowding and reduce stress levels for all the animals.
This week’s post will cover all the benefits of microchips and discuss why pet owners choose to microchip their companions.
How Do Microchips Work?
While there are a lot of frequently asked questions about microchips, they are relatively simple devices, and they are easy to inject. Still, many pet owners don’t see the benefits in microchipping their dogs or cats, or they don’t know how to fully use the technology. A Vetstreet blog post notes that people who decide to microchip must remember to register the chip with the company who made the device; otherwise, there’s no information to connect the pet owner with the lost pet.
Microchips Locate Pets in Emergencies
Microchips are extremely useful in the event of an emergency or catastrophic event. In the aftermath of the deadly tornados in Moore, Oklahoma in May 2013, microchips played a vital role in reuniting owners with their lost and injured pets. Animals in temporary shelters were immediately scanned for microchips, and thanks to microchips and Facebook posts, many tornado victims were relieved to discover that their lost pets made it out alive.
Microchips Track Down Stolen Pets
One major benefit is that it helps track down stolen pets, which is one reason Adrienne Bombard had both of her dogs microchipped. Adrienne works with me in Marketing and Web Design at Vetri-Science®, so I asked her why she decided to microchip both of her Huskies. The sad reality that people steal dogs is the most “nerve-racking” reason for her, and you can see why someone would be tempted if you look at their pictures featured in last week’s post. But the potential for dognapping wasn’t the only reason for her decision.
“My dogs are roamers by breed, so the chance of them not returning is always out there,” Adrienne said, adding, “I also take my dogs everywhere. But more importantly, when I leave them with a dog sitter, there is always the chance that the sitter will not follow my directions. Huskies will escape if they have the option, and I would like to know for myself that if they ever got lost or stolen, I would have one more line of defense as a way to locate them.”
Microchips and GPS Tags Locate Lost Pets
Vetri-Science® Graphic Designer, Sean Cater adopted a female greyhound almost 3 years ago, and for him, it wasn’t necessary to microchip his dog. That does not mean that Sean does not see the value in microchips for pets. “I’m certainly not against it, and I understand why people do it,” he told me, “I would be more interested if it were an actual GPS tracking device that you could turn on if your dog were missing.”
Sean then did a quick search online and found that some companies do make tracking collars and tags, such as the Pet Tracker. This GPS device allows you to set an area around your home and yard, or any area where your pet usually stays. When the pet goes outside that area, you get an email notification or a text. It can also be used to track outdoor cats so that you can see exactly where they go when they roam around the neighborhood.
Microchips for Indoor Cats
As an indoor cat owner, I never considered a microchip for my 8-yr-old rescue cat since she never tries to get out. But I wanted to know if other indoor cat owners choose to microchip their cats. Luckily, we have a mix of dog and cat owners in our department. Our SEO Coordinator, Jordan Davis, has two indoor cats. He and his girlfriend decided to microchip both cats after taking them in. “Even though we have indoor cats, there is still the chance that they could escape or get lost in the event of a fire or emergency,” he explained.
The one drawback that most pet owners point out is that the lost or stolen pet must be dropped off at a shelter or taken to a vet for this technology to work. However, the small cost of inserting a microchip is worth it to many people. Jordan’s final statement about his own cats echoed this sentiment: “It’s not fail-safe, but at least the microchips provide us with a means of identifying and locating them if they were to be dropped off at a shelter or vet’s office.”
We are always happy to hear from our readers and the veterinarians we work with. Please share your thoughts about microchips for pets on our Facebook page.