Every year there are news stories of pets that have gone missing, only to turn up weeks, months, or even years later! Reuniting lost pets with their owners is much simpler when the pet has been microchipped. Just last month, a cat in Ontario was reunited with his family after nearly 10 years—all because he had a microchip!
While we hope our pets will never dart out and become lost, unfortunately, mishaps do occur. A visiting friend may not realize that your cat is an indoor only pet, or a gate mistakenly gets left open and your dog darts out before you realize the error. Accidents happen and the best way to ensure that your pet is returned is to put collar on AND microchip him!
A microchip is a tiny computer chip (about the size of a grain of rice). They hold a unique number that’s registered with an international database. This number is associated with the pet owner and the registry stores all the important information: pet owner’s name and contact information, as well as information about the pet (breed, sex, coat color, age, and whether the pet is spayed or neutered).
In many cases, the breeder microchips the pet. In this case, the chip may have been registered with a kennel club or the breeder, or may not have been registered at all! Be sure to find out the details from your breeder and follow up with the microchip registry by updating or inputting your information. Likewise, if you adopted the pet from a shelter, the microchip may be registered to the previous owner.
If you move, change your phone number, or email address, it’s imperative that you update your contact information with the registry—if you don’t, they won’t be able to locate and reunite you with your pet. If you plan on travelling with your pet, be sure to include a cell number, as your landline will be of no use if you’re hundreds of miles from home!
If you don’t know if your pet is microchipped, your veterinarian can check for one. If your pet is microchipped and you don’t know if it’s registered to your name, you can use a free on-line tool to determine the microchip registry. The online tool for North American microchip registry is: http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/ (in the UK, the website is http://www.check-a-chip.co.uk/ and in Australia, the website is http://www.petaddress.com.au/). You just need to enter the 9, 10, or 15-character microchip number (with no punctuation or spaces). If the microchip is registered, you will be given the name, number, and website of the registry company and the date that the microchip information was last updated. By visiting that database’s website, you can check that your contact information is up-to-date.
If the microchip is not registered, you will be provided with the contact information of the companies which most likely made the microchip. Contacting the company will allow you to register your pet.
This weekend why not take a moment to Check the Chip!