About one in three pets go missing each year, which means more than 10 million pets slip through an open door, hop a fence, or break free from a leash. Animals that have a microchip are more likely to be reunited with their owners. According to PetFinder, only 22 percent of lost dogs without a microchip will return home, compared to the 52 percent of microchipped dogs that will make it back to their owners. On the other hand, approximately 38 percent of cats with microchips reunite with their families, while only 2 percent of the felines without a microchip will ever return back home.

What is a Microchip?

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. In a fast and painless procedure, the veterinarian places a microchip just beneath the surface of the animal’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The procedure is similar to receiving a shot, so your pet will react in the same as they do when receiving a yearly vaccination. Most mammals can be microchipped, including dogs, cats, horses, and even ferrets. The procedure is quick – it will take more time to do the paperwork than to inject the microchip.

The microchip does not contain an internal energy source, so it is safe and will last the life of your pet. The microchip is encoded with the dog or cat’s unique ID code. A microchip is a permanent form of identification for your pet. The technology cannot track your pet’s whereabouts but it can help identify you as the owner in case your pet is ever lost or stolen.

When a lost pet is turned in, the veterinarian or employee at an animal shelter can swipe a handheld scanner over the animal’s body to detect the presence of a microchip and to read the information on it. The animal care professional will then enter the information into a national database of pet microchip information. The database then provides the owner’s contact information.

Even with microchipping, your pet will still need an ID tag. Most people do not own the handheld scanners necessary to detect and read a microchip. Others are unaware the microchips exist and would therefore not think to take the animal to a vet or animal shelter to be scanned. A few might even keep your pet. Having a tag with your name and phone number increases the likelihood that someone would contact you if they found your missing pet.

Lakeview Animal Hospital offers M4S ID microchips, a widely used microchipping product that will increase the likelihood of a safe recovery should your pets get lost. For more information, you can check out: http://www.microchipsolutions.com.