Have You Seen This Dog?
More than 10 million pets are reported lost every year. Preventative measures can be taken to eliminate the chances of your pet ever becoming one of these statistics, although it can still happen. Dogs without collars have an even lesser chance of being reunited with their families. According to the American Humane Association, roughly 17% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats ever find their owners. Lost pets become labeled as “strays” and nearly 20 million of them are euthanized each year because their owners cannot be located. One way to greatly increase the possibility of your lost pet being reunited is to have them tagged with a microchip.
The microchip is a small computer chip with an identification number programmed into it. It is small enough to fit into a hypodermic needle. Once implanted, the I.D. number cannot be altered or removed; once the chip is implanted, a layer of connective tissue forms around it, preventing movement.
Microchips will last for your pet’s lifetime, as there are no moving parts and nothing to replace. The procedure is simple, routine and painless, and it doesn't require an anesthetic. Much like a vaccination, your pet simply gets an injection just under the loose skin between the shoulder blades; most animals don't react at all. Long-term studies have shown the implantation causes no known medical complications.
The chip contains an identification code that is unique to your pet. Most veterinarians and animal shelters have scanners that can read that identification code. Universal scanners that will read all brands of microchips are commonly used.
There are two major manufacturers of microchips: AVID and Schering-Plough Home Again.
AVID (American Veterinary Identification Devices) will register you with PETrac when the chip is implanted. Your veterinarian can then have the application information to send in to PETrac; you can also reach them personally via a toll-free number (listed below) if you do not receive this information, or if your information such as address, phone number, or veterinarian changes. Your dog will also receive a tag for his dog collar with his AVID microchip number prominently displayed. When your lost pet is found, they will be scanned and the information will be called in to PETrac; after the information is collected, the owner will be contacted immediately.
Another popular brand of location-targeting microchip is Schering-Plough HomeAgain. Once your pet receives a Schering-Plough HomeAgain microchip, you will be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) program. This program maintains a national database and is available 24 hours a day year wide. Once the lost pet is retrieved, the chip will be scanned and the proper notifications will be carried out. The AKC also can be reached directly with informational changes.
Millions of pets are enrolled in the AKC Companion Animal Recovery program and 97% have HomeAgain microchips. The program has a 100% success rate, with every found pet in its system being identified. The American Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (ASPCA) also supports the use of microchip IDs for animal identification and has stated that it is the most reliable system for the recovery of lost pets.
AVID toll-free assistance line: 1-800-336-2843
Schering-Plough Home Again toll-free assistance line: 1-800-252-7894