Friday, April 10, 2009

Why Not Microchip Your Pet?

I have been to many animal shelters. Each and every time, as I stand looking at the sweet, confused, often traumatized little faces peering at me hopefully from behind bars, I can't help but wonder, "How many of them would not be here if they had been microchipped?"

The most common reasons people give for not microchipping their pets:

  • Fido never leaves my side.
  • Fluffy is an indoor only cat.
I can't quite wrap my mind around that. Maybe it is because I see the other side of life where unexpected things happen to the pets of people who least expect it. Shelter populations generally consist of confiscated animals, owner-released animals and strays. Lots of friendly, well-socialized strays with very nice manners. No doubt these animals belonged to somebody. But who? Whether the animals are missed by their families or intentionally abandoned, we will never know because nobody can determine who they belong to. If, at some point in time, they sported collars with ID tags, they didn't have them on when they were picked up running the streets. The strays with microchips are not in the shelter because they already went home. A long time ago.

Let's assume Fluffy and Fido had been microchipped. (What follows is based on factual events from personal experience, using fictitious names.) Fluffy's people were frantic because the screen fell out of the window in the middle of the night and so did Fluffy. Fido was left in the back yard for a minute while his person went out front to get the newspaper. He came back and Fido was gone.
Fluffy was found 3 months later and 3 miles away. He was taken to a veterinarian where he was scanned for a microchip. Fluffy's family was contacted and an incredibly joyous reunion ensued. Fido was found wandering on railroad tracks behind a strip mall. When we scanned him, we discovered that his microchip was registered to somebody who lived 30 miles away! We can only assume Fido was taken and moved that distance by humans as it turns out he showed up in our area within hours after he went missing - he could not have walked that far that fast. His family never thought to look for him 30 miles away, yet against all odds, his microchip got him back home to the two little girls who loved him dearly.

One day I was at a high kill shelter where I witnessed a woman crumbling to the floor in heart-wrenching sobs after being told that her dog, whose stray hold was up the day before, had been euthanized just hours earlier to make room for more incoming strays. She had found out which shelter he was at one day too late. Would a microchip have saved that dog's life? You betcha.

People often think microchip implanting is a big deal, like having surgery. That is most certainly not the case. It is more like getting a vaccination. The microchip is injected under the skin of the scruff of the animal and most don't even feel it. It literally takes seconds to do. When people bring their pets to our microchip clinics, they are always amazed at how fast and simple it is. I tell people they will hopefully never have a need for the microchip but if the unexpected ever happens and there is no microchip, then it's too late. So what are you waiting for? Get your pet microchipped! I don't want to be looking in your pet's eyes when I am standing in an animal shelter.

Ask your veterinarian about microchipping or for more information about our microchip clinics in the Central New Jersey area go to:

1 comment:

  1. The peace of mind provided by microchipping one's pets far outweighs the costs. It is so quick & easy to do, and a very small investment to help reduce the likelihood of being euthanized as a stray if they become lost. I have 3 indoor cats, and they are all microchipped "just in case".