May is “Chip Your Pet Month”, and we wanted to talk to you about why it is important to get your pet chipped, discuss some of the things to do if your pet is chipped, and where you can get it done. The process for having your dog or cat microchipped is simple. A microchip is inserted just under the skin of your pet, typically between their shoulder blades. Some pets may be a little sore after having this done, but it is no more invasive than a vaccine and can potentially save their life. A microchip is very small, about the size of a grain of rice and has a unique identification number.
Statistics show that at least one-third of all pets will get lost at some point in their lifetime. For those of us with fur babies this number can be startling. Having your pet chipped can significantly increase the chances of them being returned to you. Animal Control and other shelters will check any incoming animals for a microchip. If your pet is chipped and your information is up to date, they will be able to return your pet to you quickly. Neighbors or others in your community who find a stray dog might post on Facebook or other social media to try to locate owners but this isn’t always reliable. They most likely will take the pet to a shelter or a vet to see if it has a chip.
If your pet is on medication, it may be crucial that you get your pet home quickly. If they are not chipped, this process can take days, weeks, or even months. Microchipping your pet not only helps if they wandered off, but in the event of a natural disaster, your pet will be returned to you.
One of the most important things to remember when chipping your pet is to register the chip with your contact information. A few places may do this while you are in the office, but many will refer you to a website and give you the chip ID number. This process only takes a few minutes. You will typically just enter your name, phone number, and address. Some companies may allow you to put a second contact or your vet information as well. Anytime you move or change your phone number, you must remember to update the registration information.
Whether you are getting your pet chipped, or if your pet has been chipped for years it is important to have your vet scan for it regularly. Most vets will do this at a yearly check up visit, but you may have to ask them to have it done. This is because sometimes the chip might not stay in the exact spot it was placed. It is rare, but possible, for the chip to travel. Most commonly when this happens, it might be further down your pet’s back or towards their leg. Again, this is rare, but it is important to check regularly. If a chip is not in the correct area, it might not read on the scanner.
If you’ve decided you are ready to get your pet chipped, what are the next steps? This process is done by almost all veterinarians. We recommend you reach out to your trusted vet to schedule an appointment. Many shelters or vet offices will have a monthly clinic where you can get your pet chipped. Some of these offer discounts for low income families, so please do not let price be a deterrent. Please see a list below for options available in the New Orleans area, the SPCA also holds clinics a few times a year, we have included their website.