When you microchip your pet, you're taking a step to ensure that they're safe and secure for the rest of their lives
You curl up at night with a good book, and who is on your lap? Your cat. His gentle purr is the soundtrack to your story. You go for a walk to get some exercise and who’s by your side? Your dog. Ever the enthusiastic companion, she gives you the best howl of excitement every day when you get home from work. Our pets are part of our families. They’re by our side when we feel down and when we’re getting ready for a night on the town, and they make sure we’re up for breakfast even on weekends!
Our dogs and cats also depend on us to take care of them, and part of that care is making sure they can get home if they ever get lost. That responsibility is a lot easier when you microchip your pet. According to Home Again, a provider of microchipping services, the chip is injected just under the skin of your pet and acts as a personalized ID. If your dog or cat (or rabbit, horse, or almost any pet) is lost, a veterinarian or animal shelter can scan for a microchip to identify your pet and get in touch with you.
Why You Should Microchip Your Pet
Even the most responsible pet owners may find themselves with a lost pet. Your cat slips out while you’re bringing in groceries or your dog gets startled and slips out of his collar and runs off. A report published by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University points out that only 21.9% of non-microchipped dogs make it back to their families, as compared to the 52.2% of microchipped dogs who make it home. For cats, only 1.8% of non-microchipped cats make it home, while 38.5% of microchipped cats are returned to their families. Another study referenced by the American Veterinary Medical Association found that “the detection of a microchip by an animal shelter yielded a 74.1% rate of return to owners.”
Unlike collars and tags, a microchip won’t slip off, nor does it require a battery or other power source. The scanner that reads the microchip uses a low radio frequency to power the chip and read the identification. Once you microchip your pet, they’re microchipped for life since most chips have a lifespan of approximately 25 years.
That, however, isn’t the end of the story. You also have to register your pet with the microchip company. Otherwise, there is no way to identify where your pet belongs. And believe it or not, it may be more affordable than you might think.
How Much Does It Cost?
The initial cost to microchip your pet varies. It’s similar to giving a vaccine, so each vet may charge slightly different prices for the services. Most shelters and rescue organizations microchip pets before they get adopted, so the cost is wrapped into the adoption fees.
Registration, on the other hand, ranges from a one-time registration fee for lifetime enrollment to annual fees. Some companies, such as 911PetChip offer free lifetime enrollment once you have your pet microchipped.
Why such a big difference? Well, this is where things get a little confusing.
There are hundreds of companies offering microchips and microchip registries. Unsurprisingly, there is a vast spectrum in both manufacturing quality and the reliability of the registry itself. In fact, many of those registries use different microchip technology and don’t always share their databases, making it difficult at best to locate your pet if they do get lost.
Thanks to the American Animal Hospital Association, however, there is an easy way to narrow down the choices. The AAHA Universal Microchip Lookup Tool collaborates with nearly two dozen registry services, who share their registries with the AAHA, making it easier for veterinarians and shelters to contact the correct registry, who in turn can contact the pet owner and alert them to the location of their lost pet.
Again, though, the key is to register your pet with the pet recovery service. Otherwise, there is no way to locate and contact you.
What a Microchip Isn't
While a microchip can help you recover your pets if they are lost, there are a few things a microchip is NOT.
- It’s not a GPS tracking system. (Although you can get GPS-equipped collars.)
- It will not automatically update a new address, phone number, or any other change in contact information.
- You still need a collar and tag since a microchip DOES require a vet or shelter to use a specific type of scanner to read the information.
- It won’t hurt your pet. It’s no different than getting a vaccination.
- A microchip does NOT store your personal information. The only information on the chip is a code that the registry service uses to identify your dog, and they will then contact you, which is why it’s a good idea to check that your registration information is accurate.
- It is NOT Pet Insurance. (Read more below.)
Pet insurance is one of the many insurance products we offer at Pekin Insurance. Call your local Pekin Insurance agent today to learn more about how we can help you take care of your beloved pet.