If you’ve ever had a pet go missing without ever being returned, you know how devastating a loss can be. Millions of pets become separated from their owners every year, but sadly, most pets without any identification never make it back home. While posting “Lost Pet” photos throughout your neighborhood or posting information on social media can certainly be helpful, why not increase the odds of a happy reunion with a pet microchip? Denver’s Northfield Veterinary Hospital offers pet microchipping services for our patients so that more lost dogs and cats can be returned to their owners.
What Is a Pet Microchip and How Does It Work?
A microchip is a tiny device that serves as a permanent form of identification for pets. About the size of a grain of rice, this device uses radio frequency identification technology to help lost pets get returned to their owners. Each pet microchip contains a unique registration number as well as the owner’s contact information. If a lost pet is found and turned over to an animal shelter or animal hospital, the microchip can be scanned using a handheld scanner and linked back to the owner. However, contrary to common belief, the microchip does not contain a GPS device, so the only way an animal can be traced is if the microchip is scanned.
Is Microchipping Painful?
Not at all! The microchip is implanted just beneath the surface of a pet’s skin, near the shoulder blades, using a hypodermic needle. The implantation process is comparable to the feeling of a needle being injected into the skin. No anesthesia or surgery is required. The process is quick, simple, and painless. Microchipping can be done in conjunction with many other pet procedures here at Northfield Veterinary Hospital that require anesthesia, such as spaying/neutering.
How Successful Is Pet Microchipping?
The short answer is “very,” according to a recent study by the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association involving more than 7,700 lost pets that ended up at shelters. Of these pets, the dogs with microchips were returned home 52.2% of the time while those without microchips were returned 21.9% of the time. The microchipped cats were returned 38.5% of the time while those without microchips were turned only 1.8% of the time.
I Found a Lost Pet. What Should I Do?
The obvious first step is to see if the pet has an ID tag so you can contact the owner. If there’s no ID tag, or if you can’t get in contact with the owner, you can bring the pet to Northfield Veterinary Hospital or to a local animal shelter equipped with a microchip scanner. Please give us a call at 720-503-9559 if you have more questions about a lost pet, or if you’d like to schedule a microchipping appointment for you own pet.