Bring Your Lost Pet Home

Pet being scanned for microchip - Holiday House Pet Resort
This pet is being scanned for a microchip.

The warmer weather seems to bring an increase in lost pet postings around town or on social media. Whether scared away by loud noises like firecrackers or thunderstorms, slipping out a door that was accidentally left open, or getting past an invisible fence, losing your pet can happen. Sadly, one in three pets will go missing from home during their lifetimes. Without correct identification, 90% of missing pets never return home. Getting lost is the primary cause of death for pets.

When a lost pet, without an ID tag, arrives at a veterinary clinic or animal shelter, it is scanned for a microchip. The microchip is linked to a registry with owner contact information. If the registry information is up-to-date, the pet will be reunited with the family. One study showed:
•    Over 50% of microchipped dogs were returned home; only 22% without a microchip were reunited
•    Nearly 40% of microchipped cats were returned home; less than 2% without a microchip were reunited

How does a microchip work?
Unlike a collar and tag which can come off your pet, a microchip is permanent identification. A microchip—slightly larger than a grain of rice—is inserted under your pet’s skin usually in the shoulder area. The unique microchip number and owner information are entered into a registry. Properly administered, the microchip should remain in place and not cause discomfort after the injection.

The most important step is having the microchip registered. It’s important to remember, a microchip is not a GPS tracking device but a link to a database with contact information. Many animal hospitals will offer registering the microchip and information as part of the procedure. If not, the owner is responsible for making sure the contact information is registered. Without the correct contact information, the microchip is not useful in reuniting a lost pet with family. Once a profile is created, you should upload a photo, add alternative contact information and note any special medical information like diabetes or seizures. Many registries offer membership benefits and services such as alerts, the ability to create flyers and poster for distribution, a medical hotline and travel assistance for found pets, in the event your pet is lost.

“We do see a high percentage of pets that are microchipped with incomplete or outdated information in the registry,” said Carol Hinckley, shelter manager for the Bucks County SPCA in Lahaska.

Doylestown Veterinary Hospital recommends and administers the HomeAgain microchip with national registry program. The procedure is done using safe, effective sedation for pain management during injection and optimal placement of the microchip to ensure it doesn’t move or come out, which is rare but possible.

Picture of needle size for microchipping pets - Holiday House Pet Resort in Doylestown, PAMicrochipping clinics do offer a free or discounted on-the-spot procedure but pain control may not be available. The needle used to administer the microchip is more than twice as thick as a needle used for vaccinations or to draw blood which can cause discomfort to your pet. The staff at Doylestown Veterinary Hospital, an AAHA-accredited animal hospital, want your pet (and you!) to be comfortable with having the microchip administered, and automatic registration in the national HomeAgain registry is included.

For more information about checking your microchip registry information or scheduling an appointment to have your pet microchipped, please call Doylestown Veterinary Hospital at 215-345-6000.