August 15 marks National Check the Chip Day, an event that urges pet owners to get their pets microchipped and to keep the registration information up-to-date. A microchip, which is a permanent identification device the size of a rice granule inserted under the pet’s skin, helps reunite lost pets with their owners, but it is only effective with up-to-date registration information in the microchip registry. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) created “Check the Chip Day” with support from HomeAgain, a lost pet recovery service.
Microchips significantly increase the chances of lost pets reuniting with their owners. In fact, microchipped dogs are more than twice as likely to be returned to their owners, and microchipped cats are more than 20 times as likely to be reunited with their owners. When microchipped pets are not returned home, it is typically because of incorrect or missing owner information in the microchip registry, according to AVMA and HomeAgain.
“A microchip that has not been registered is useless because no address or phone number is linked to its unique identification number, and there is no way to return the animal home,” said Kira Ramdas, DVM, a TVMA member who practices at Just Cats Veterinary Services in The Woodlands, Texas. “Similarly, it is important to update contact information in the registry after a move or a transfer of ownership.”
To update the pet’s registration records, pet owners will need the microchip number and to create an account with their manufacturer to access registration information in the future. AVMA recommends pet owners make sure all of their information is correct, specifically their phone numbers and addresses. For pet owners who don’t have their pets microchipped, AVMA and AAHA encourage scheduling an appointment with a family veterinarian for the procedure.
“While a microchip is no guarantee your lost pet will be brought home, it is a form of insurance that every shelter and veterinary clinic evaluates for when a stray or found pet arrives at our doors,” Ramdas said.
About the Texas Veterinary Medical Association
Founded in 1903, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association is a professional association composed of more than 3,700 veterinarians committed to protecting public health, promoting high educational, ethical and moral standards within the veterinary profession and educating the public about animal health and its relationship to human health. For more information, call 512/452-4224 or visit www.tvma.org.