Microchips Are NOT The Only Answer

dog with id tagA microchip alone may not save your pet’s life.

A strong statement?

Yes, as ALL PETS NEED TO BE MICROCHIPPED (dogs, cats, birds, etc.).

But many pets do not wear identification tags because their parents feel confident a microchip is enough. However, this is NOT enough; your pets also need an identification tag or leg band (birds).

Let’s review why microchips are not enough:

  1. Not all veterinary hospitals, animal control or shelters have universal scanners. Therefore, it’s possible for your pet to end up at a facility with “older” technology. By “older,” I mean more than a couple of years. Even though chip manufacturers work hard to get universal scanners out to all shelters and animal control facilities, as there are literally thousands of these organizations, this takes time. Additionally, as there are no requirements for facilities to have universal scanners, your pet may end up somewhere without one.
  1. Although very rare, a microchip can fail. It happened to my last dog after 10 years of working correctly. Thankfully, as her veterinarians scanned her microchip regularly during visits, they discovered the failure and replaced it with another chip. Since microchips can work fine for years and then fail, make sure your vet checks your pet’s chip every time they have an exam.
  1. While chances of human error or incomplete scanning are unlikely, they are still possible.
  1. Is your pet’s microchip registered with the manufacturer’s database? If your pet came from a shelter or a rescue, a microchip may have been implanted; however, the microchip will NOT be registered to you until you send in the form and pay the related registration fee.
  1. You may have moved or your pet may have changed ownership since their microchip was last registered. As it is easy to forget to update your pet’s contact information in all the chaos of moving or changing ownership, please make sure you take a minute to do so with the manufacturer.
  1. In a worst case scenario, your pet could get loose and become injured. When pets are found either injured or dead, they are not always scanned for microchips. Therefore, if your pet has on a collar with identification tags you can more likely be properly notified in case of injury or loss of life.

With all this in mind, please do not depend on your pet being in the house, in the yard or by your side to be the only things that keep them safe. There are unfortunately all too many ways pets can get lost from their owners. Pets chasing squirrels and trying to catch birds are the most common reasons they get lost, but gates get left open, doors don’t always close, and there are car accidents, house break ins, natural disasters — there are so many ways pets can get lost from their beloved families!

If your pet doesn’t have a microchip yet, talk to your vet about having one implanted immediately (make certain it is an ISO chip). And make sure your pet always wears its collar and identification tags too!