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Did you know that a device the size of a long grain of rice could help get your pet home to you if she were ever lost?
That’s right; getting your pet microchipped, and keeping your information on the microchip up to date, exponentially increases her chance of making it safely back home to you.
To people who work in animal sheltering, this fact is obvious. But many pet owners still don’t know the huge impact that a tiny piece of technology could have on their lives. Pet microchipping is a practice that started in the late 1980s, but in 2021 shelters all over the country are still taking in millions of stray pets every year who don’t have microchips.
Many owners think that their pet would never get lost, or that if she did she would come home on her own, that they would find her quickly, or that other measures taken (like a name tag on the collar) would be sufficient. The fact is that 1 in 3 pets will be reported as lost at some point in their life, with only about 80 percent of those making their way home. When that statistic becomes your own pet, it’s scary.
We always recommend keeping a collar with identification on your pet as well, but this is just one measure to take to make sure your baby can get home to you. Collars can come off, not all pets wear their collars all the time, maybe you change your phone number but don’t update your pet’s tag, or how many of you have seen your dog get ‘zoomies’ after bath time? I myself have had a dog take off running after bath time -- collar laying on the bathroom counter to be put back on when he dried -- and he was half a mile away before my out-of-shape self could catch up with him. A microchip is a reliable back up, so that if your pet is lost and gets picked up by a good samaritan or an animal services officer, a vet or shelter can scan your pet for their microchip and know within minutes how to get in touch with you -- with or without a collar. What pet parent wouldn’t want that kind of peace of mind?
Here’s how microchipping works:
Please note that a microchip is NOT a GPS or tracking device. It is simply a device that holds information. You can not track your pet’s location via their microchip.
If you haven’t been convinced yet that your pet needs a microchip, here are some eye-opening study results that might help sway you. Overall in the United States, stray dogs entering an animal shelter have only a 22 percent likelihood of being reunited with their families. That statistic jumps dramatically for dogs with microchips -- over 52 percent of dogs with microchips are reunited with their owners.
The rates for cats returning home is even more drastic. Only 2 percent of stray cats entering animal shelters in the US are reunited with their owners. While an amazing 38 percent of cats with microchips are able to be reunited with their owners.
And as a reminder to always keep your pet’s microchip information up to date -- only 58 percent of microchipped pets entering animal shelters had up-to-date information on their microchips. If this percentage were higher, we would expect to see even higher percentages of microchipped pets going home!
Every dog and cat adopted from HSTC has a microchip, and as of this past year, all adoptable rabbits that are spayed/neutered at HSTC are also microchipped.
If you have a pet that isn’t microchipped, we can help! We offer microchipping appointments that can be booked by calling us at 772-223-8822. The cost is $20 for a dog or cat that is already spayed or neutered, or $40 for a dog that is not spayed or neutered. We also offer discounted microchip clinics periodically throughout the year, so be sure to watch our Facebook page or visit our website at www.hstc1.org/Public for more information!