A lot of dog owners are talking about the importance of getting your pet micro-chipped. But, what is it?
It is an “outpatient” procedure done in any vet clinic, shelter or rescue organization. A large needle is inserted in between the dog’s shoulders and a microchip about the size of a grain of rice is injected.
The chip coincides with a special identification number and when a dog is scanned with an appropriate device – the number comes up – the number is then associated with a specific chip company such as Avid, Petfinder, Home Again and a few others. Anyone can call the 800 number, report the chip number and presto – the dog can be reunited with his owner.
Or can he?
Many times there is a second part to the chipping process: registration - often overlooked by owners.
When a facility such as a vet or shelter chips the dog – the dog is automatically registered to that organization – not necessarily the owner. After the procedure, the owner is sent home with some paperwork that usually suggests that they call the 800 number and re-register the pet under their name. Unfortunately, this can come at an extra expense.
So, between the extra step and the extra cost – many owners file the paperwork and leave it at that.
However, vet clinics close and shelters aren’t always open 24/7 and so many dogs found go un-reunited with their owners because the right contact information is missing.
Sure the dog was chipped – but that doesn’t mean they have a free ticket home.
So, dig out those registration packets and get calling. Or, if you lost the packet, go to your vet and have them scan your dog and tell you who to call.
It is also recommended to have your dog scanned at the vet to verify the information that comes up is accurate. We have seen a Shih Tzu lost in IL who was registered as black Lab to an owner in Ohio and a found beagle in Illinois registered as cat living in Maryland. Mistakes happen so it is critical that the information about the dog is accurate.
Microchips have helped reunite many dogs and their owners – but they shouldn’t be considered fail safe.
It is always best to make sure your dog has a well-fitted collar and an easy to read and up to date ID tag. Your dog’s ID tag and microchip can make all the difference between a lost dog and a found dog.
Presented by Lost Dogs Illinois, a non-profit 501c3 with a network of volunteers offering valuable resources to reunite lost dogs with their families and found dogs with their owners. Visit them atwww.lostdogsillinois.org and "like" them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LostDogsIllinois.