Last updated August 9, 2022
Even the mere thought of your pet going missing can trigger panic and heartache. Imagining them out in the cold or the heat, without food or water, and unable to find their way back home is truly a pet parent’s nightmare, but there are numerous ways to prevent this scenario from happening. Having your pet wear a collar with an ID is a great start, but one of the most effective measures you can take is getting your pet microchipped. National Check the Chip Day is August 15, and we urge you to get involved to ensure your pet is chip-equipped.
What Is Check the Chip Day?
National Check the Chip Day is hosted by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as a way to spread awareness about the importance of microchipping your pet. This day also serves as a reminder to get your pet microchipped and to ensure your pet’s current microchip reflects accurate information.
How to Get Your Pet Chipped
On this day, local veterinary offices, animal hospitals, and shelters around the US encourage pet owners to drop by to have their pets microchipped, a service that costs around $50. For those who aren’t sure if their pets have already been microchipped, these providers can scan pets to find out. Simply call your local provider and schedule an appointment for August 15, or on a date that works for you.
How to Check Your Chip
According to PetFinder.com, “Only 58 percent of the microchipped animals’ microchips have been registered in a database with their pet parent’s contact information.” If you’ve moved, adopted your pet from a shelter, or simply never registered the microchip to you and your pet, it’s officially time to check the chip!
To check if your pet’s microchip information is up to date, go to the AHAA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup tool. Once there, enter your pet’s microchip ID and verify the information. If the data is incorrect, call the listed number associated with the microchip and update the registration. Many microchip manufacturers also have websites where you can log in and update the information that way. If you remember where you had your pet microchipped, such as your vet, they may be able to update that information for you, as well.
Why Get Your Pet Chipped?
The numbers speak for themselves: only 22% of lost dogs and 2% of cats who entered a homeless shelter were reunited with their owners, according to PetFinder.com. However, “the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52 percent” and “return-to-owner rate for microchipped cats was dramatically higher at over 38 percent.” Microchips are particularly effective because, unlike collars and IDs, they can’t be removed or worn down.
How to Locate Your Microchipped Pet
If your pet goes missing and is returned to a shelter, hospital, or vet, it will be scanned by an employee immediately. If your information is up to date, you’ll be contacted by the facility to come and pick up your pet.
Whether it’s on August 15 or any day of the year, we encourage you to have your pets microchipped, and to verify registration information on existing chips. Consider it to be part of your regular pet upkeep – providing healthy food, getting in daily exercise, signing up for pet insurance, and microchipping. Your pets will thank you, and it will give you peace of mind to know that you’ve covered all the bases.