Microchips are More Useful if you Register Your Pet

 |  Nov 12th 2008  |   7 Contributions


The other day a good samaritan discovered a dog wandering the streets alone. She approached the dog. He was a very friendly tan Terrier with black ears. He was about one year old.

The good samaritan figured that he was lost, so she brought the dog to my clinic. A veterinary technician used a scanner and found a microchip.

Microchips are small RFID-containing devices that are injected under the skin of pets. Microchips contain a meaningless series of numbers and letters. To reunite lost pets with people who are looking for them, veterinarians and shelters contact a central database that links the numbers and letters on the microchip to the identity of the dog.

But there is a catch. For the system to work, the dog's owner must register the microchip with the database. Sadly, some people don't do this.

The technician at my office called the lost dog's microchip number into the database and found that his chip wasn't registered. We knew that someone cared enough about him to have him microchipped, but there was no way to find out who that person was.

In these situations, the laws of some cities require that the dog be relinquished to local animal control officers. This was the case in the city where my clinic was located. The good samaritan turned the dog in to the authorities.

About an hour later, an anxious man called the clinic. He had lost his one-year-old tan Terrier with black ears and he was desperate to find his dog.

We had to tell him that his dog was at the local animal shelter, and could not be recovered until the next day (it was a Sunday afternoon, and the shelter was no longer open to the public).

The local shelter does not immediately euthanize lost dogs. The dog no doubt was reunited with his owner on Monday. But if the owner had taken the time to register his dog's microchip, we could have called him and spared the dog a night in the shelter.

If you haven't registered your pet's microchip, I urge you to take that step as soon as possible. It only takes a few minutes.

If you've lost your registration form, talk to your vet. He or she can scan your pet and give you all of the information that you'll need. If your pet is ever lost, it could make a big difference.

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