About one million pets are reported missing in Canada each year. Sadly, fewer than 25 percent of these pets return to their families and almost half are euthanized. Proper pet identification can change your pet’s odds of returning to your home if she should become lost or stolen.
One of the most important things you can do for the safety and security of your pet is to make sure it has proper identification. Dogs love to roam and even a home-loving indoor cat can find his way outside and be unable to find his way back in. Without proper identification, whoever finds your pet will not know how to contact you. Microchips work as a type of pet identification. Collars with tags work well because they are easy to read. Unfortunately, collars and tags can easily come off, leaving your pet without essential identification. Pet microchips are permanent and easily read by any professional animal welfare worker. Microchips can also serve as a proof of ownership during disputes over an animal. When a veterinarian or other professional animal worker encounters a lost or unidentified pet, they wave a special handheld scanner over the animal’s body. The scanner can detect whether the animal has a microchip then record the special identification number unique to that microchip. The veterinarian or other animal specialist then enters that number into a database. The database contains information about the pet’s owner, including his name and phone number. The animal specialist can then use this information to contact the pet’s owner and arrange for a reunion.
In addition to scanning an animal for a microchip, your veterinarian can also implant a microchip in your pet. During the procedure, the veterinarian uses a hypodermic needle to insert the chip under the animal’s skin. The microchip is very small, only about the size of a grain of rice, so your pet will not require anaesthesia.
Canada is fortunate, in that the nation has standardized its microchipping system for pet identification. Veterinary and animal care officials have recently revised these standards to reflect advances in microchip technology and improvements in pet identification systems. Standardization of microchip pet identification systems has ensured that Canada has a unified and effective pet recovery system in place.
The largest drawbacks to a microchip are that it is invisible, so the person who finds your pet may be unaware of the microchip. The best way to overcome this is to acquire a tag that alerts any would-be rescuers to the presence of the microchip.
For more information about microchips as a means of pet identification, or if you have found an animal and do not know if it has a microchip, contact your veterinarian. We believe all pets should be at home, safe and sound.