What’s All the Fuss Over a Microchip?

Saturday, August 15th is National Check the Chip Day. This was created by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association to help remind pet owners about the importance of keeping their pets’ microchip registration information current. At Metairie Small Animal Hospital, we believe in the importance of microchipping your pets and know first-hand how important it is to have accurate contact information for the owners.

A microchip greatly increases the chance that a pet will be reunited with their owner in the case they become lost or an evacuation becomes necessary. What exactly is a microchip? Microchips are small cylindrical devices about the size of a grain of rice that are implanted under the skin using a hypodermic needle. The microchip stores a unique number, 9 or more characters long, that can be accessed by a microchip scanner. Veterinary clinics, animal shelters, and often police and animal control officers will typically scan a stray pet for a microchip almost immediately. However, tracking down the owner’s contact information can be a challenge if the registration information is outdated.

Keeping a collar with an identification tag on your pet is always a good idea. When a pet is microchipped, the owner typically receives a tag with the microchip number and phone number of the company that can be placed on their collar. This tag can be helpful in case someone from the general public who doesn’t have access to a microchip scanner finds your pet. If you don’t have one for your pet, think about including his microchip number on a regular identification tag. Again, making sure the registration information is kept current is a crucial step to helping your pet find his way home.

How do you update a pet’s microchip information? First, you will need the pet’s microchip number and the name of the chip’s manufacturer. If you don’t have this information, you can call your vet to see if this information is already in their medical record or bring your pet to the hospital to have them scanned without making an appointment. Then, contact the microchip’s manufacturer to make sure your contact information is still correct. If at all possible, give them at least two contact phone numbers; this will increase the chance of someone reaching you as soon as possible if your pet is found.

There is also a handy Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool that is typically the first stop for veterinary clinics and animal shelters. Type in your pet’s microchip number to see what comes up.

Making a habit of regularly checking and updating your pet’s microchip information gives you the best chance of being reunited with them. We’ll see you on Check the Chip Day!

Click here for more information on microchipping or give us a call!