August 15 is annual Check the Chip Day and it is a great reminder to pet owners of the importance of chipping their pets. The main reason to chip your pet is that it greatly increases the chances of your pet being returned in case of being lost or stolen. Check the Chip Day also serves to remind pet owners to update information on the pet’s microchip registration.

What should all pet owners know about microchipping pets? Are there any risks with putting a microchip in your pet? Why should you chip your pet?

What is a microchip for pets?

Microchips for pets are as small as a grain of rice and can be harmlessly inserted under the skin of your pet. The microchip contains a unique identification number that can be read by a scanner. Usually, veterinary clinics or animal shelters have scanners linked to databases where ID number can be cross-referenced.

The microchip is injected under your pet’s skin and is no more painful than getting a vaccination injection. There is no need to put a dog or cat under anesthesia to chip animals.

Reasons to chip your pet?

The main reason to chip your pet is that, if your pet is picked up as a stray, animal shelters or vet clinics can locate you easily.

There are various manufacturers that are in the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup service. The information stored on a chip is linked to information on a database provided by the pet owner. This means that very quickly, pets can be reunited with their owners.

Research into the effectiveness of microchipping pets has found that the chances of pets being returned increase to 50% for dogs and 40% for cats. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reported that the main reason for not locating the owners was because of incorrect information on the database.

The advantage of microchipping your pet as opposed to having an identification tag is that tags can be lost or removed. However, a microchip is a way to permanently identify your pet.

Updating information on the database

A chip for your pet is only useful if you keep the information on the database updated. So, if you move house or change your phone number, you need to inform the chip manufacturer. Thankfully, most reputable manufacturers are part of the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup service. This means that it is easier for vets and animal shelter workers to locate the appropriate database.

Why have Check the Chip Day?

Check the Chip Day on August 15 is also a great reminder for pet owners who have microchipped their pets to check the chip. All you have to do is pay a visit to your local veterinary clinic and arrange to check that the chip is functioning and that all information on the database is up to date.