We recommend that all dogs and cats be microchipped, because roughly
ONE OUT OF THREE PETS WILL GO MISSING
at some point in their lives. A microchip can significantly increase a lost pet’s chances of being reunited with its family – microchipped dogs are returned to their families about 52% of the time, while dogs without a chip are returned only about 22% of the time. The difference is even more striking for cats, with just 2% of non-chipped cats being returned to their owners. The rate of return rises drastically to 39% for cats that do have a microchip.
How Pet Microchips Work
Microchips for dogs and cats are tiny, no bigger than a grain of rice, and they stay with your pet for life. When they’re scanned, they transmit a unique ID number that can then be entered into the HomeAgain microchip database. This ID number belongs to you and your pet only. It should immediately be registered into the database with your contact information so it can be traced directly to you if your pet ever gets lost and then picked up by a good Samaritan. This contact information can be updated any time, so if you’re planning on moving, make sure your address (and phone number, if needed) gets updated.
At Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital, we recommend having your pet microchipped as soon as possible. We can chip your pet at any time, either during a standalone appointment, a wellness check, or while your pet is under anesthesia for surgery or a dental cleaning.
Tips to Prevent Your Pet from Getting Lost
There are all kinds of ways your pet can get lost, and while the chances are low, it still helps to be prepared.
Dogs and cats should always have an updated ID tag attached to their collar with their name, your phone number, and proof of rabies vaccination. In addition to giving a good Samaritan the information they need to contact you; it also signifies that it’s safe to handle your pet. Furthermore, a microchip provides added insurance and peace of mind. Because a microchip is forever for your pet, the only thing you’ll need to update is your contact information in the event that it changes.
A collar that’s too big for your pet will make it easier for them to slip out. The collar should not be tight (you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your pet’s neck). Leashes should be about 6 feet long at most and sturdy. We do not recommend retractable leashes, which can break more easily and make it more difficult for the owner to control their pet and keep them out of trouble.
While there are always exceptions, a well-trained dog is generally much less likely to bolt and go missing. Make sure your dog is well versed in basic commands, especially “stay” and “come.” Revisit their training regularly to reduce your pet’s impulse to run off.
Expect the unexpected. If your community has a message board or social media group, join it so you can post and share information about your pet if they happen to go missing. Have updated photos of your pet on hand, too, so people will know what to look for. Reach out to your neighbors, as well. Often, finding a lost pet is a community effort, and many people will be more than happy to lend a hand.