It is reported by The American Humane Association that over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. It’s estimated that one in three pets will become lost at some point during their life.
These numbers represent a sad and scary truth. But, there are things we can do to help lower that number and protect our furry companions.
One of the easiest and most important things you can do is to microchip your puppy.
Microchipping may sound a little scary to some but it’s actually a very simple and quick process! The microchip itself is a small device, the size of a grain of rice; it is inserted under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades. This can be done in an office visit with your veterinarian, just like a vaccine. Using a special scanner, your vet will wave it over your dog’s back to ensure that the device was placed properly and is active. The scanner will pick up the number that is on the microchip and show it on a small screen to the vet or shelter staff. A scanner can be purchased online by anyone, but the best ones are quite a bit more expensive. Best for a vet or shelter because of the amount they will be using it.mi
Microchips do not work as a tracking device; I’m sure some day that technology will be available but not yet.
The AKC website says: “GPS devices and microchips aren’t substitutes for each other; they’re complementary, each, in different ways, is useful to locating a lost dog. A GPS may tell you where your dog is, however, it can’t provide your contact information to those nearby who could help return him home. It also requires batteries and can be lost, similar to a collar or tags. Microchips, because they’re inserted into a dog’s skin, are permanent. While they can’t guide you to your dog’s location, they provide a way for you to be contacted by almost any veterinarian or shelter.”
An example of how it helps: let’s say you are walking your dog down the street on a leash and a car backfires. The sound is so loud and close that both you and the pup get startled, the result is that you accidentally let go of the leash! There goes your frightened little dog. Not knowing what to do, your puppy has run two blocks. You have no idea where he is. Someone finds your pup and brings him to the shelter. The shelter will scan the dog, using the wand that the vet provided and this scanner will give them the microchip number. If your information is up to date, the microchip number can be traced to you and they will call you right away.
** The most important part of the whole process is filling in your information and making sure the Microchip company has it! The microchip will mean nothing without it. **
Some companies have added services to their programs like ‘Home Again’ which offers a poison control fee waiver. When you register your dog’s microchip with ‘Home Again’ you are signed up for this and you receive free access to poison control. This is an amazing feature–especially with young puppies who like to put EVERYTHING in their mouths!
If they accidentally eat something poisonous, like a pack of gum from your purse, the first thing your vet will recommend is to call poison control. Before they even give you advice, you will have to provide your credit card to pay the fee–usually between $60-$70. Once you tell them what your pet ingested, they will send a treatment plan to your vet. So, if you only use this service one time (hopefully you won’t have to) it will have already paid for itself, as the microchip is only about $50.
As always, we recommend discussing important health topics with your veterinarian. Therefore, we hope you talk to your vet soon for more information about getting your puppy microchipped!