Did you know that June is National Pet Microchip Awareness Month? Raise your hands if you did. And pat yourself on the back if your pets are microchipped. We have to say, with so many dogs and cats lost every year, we’re very happy to get behind this annual campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the benefits of microchipping our pets.

If your pets aren’t microchipped yet but you’re thinking about it, read on:

Why is microchipping pets so important?

Microchipping greatly increases the chance your pet will be found if he gets lost. Unlike collars with tags, microchips can’t fall off, break, or be removed, so they’re a permanent form of identification. And they usually last a lifetime.

What is a pet microchip?

A pet microchip is a small electronic device, about the size of a grain of rice. It’s inserted under the loose skin between your pet’s shoulder blades, a process that is quick and painless for your pet. Every chip has a unique 15-digit number encased in a protective shell which can be read by a microchip scanner.

What is a pet recovery database?

Getting a microchip implanted in your pet is the first step in a two part process. You will also need to register your pet with the microchip company and their pet recovery service — just fill in the paperwork that comes with the chip and mail it in or complete it online (either way, there will probably be a fee). The company will record and store the chip number and your contact info in their pet recovery database.

What happens if my pet gets lost?

If your pet gets lost and turns up at a vet clinic or animal shelter, the staff will pass a microchip scanner over your pet and read the microchip’s ID number. They will then contact the pet recovery service – which usually have 24/7 toll-free hotlines – and give them the number. The folks at the service will look up the microchip ID number in their database and provide your contact information. And you will get a call letting you know your furry friend has been found, so you can be reunited with your pet.

Where can I get my pet microchipped?

If you adopt your pet from an animal shelter or rescue organization, they may include microchipping as part of their fee. Otherwise, visit your local vet to get it done. 

Will my pet still need to wear a collar?

Not everybody who finds a lost pet will have access to a scanner, so play it safe and keep a collar and ID tag on your pet as well. You’ll also receive a tag for your pet’s collar from the microchip company with the chip number and their phone number.

And finally….

Don’t relax and think there’s nothing more to do once you get your pet microchipped. With some pet registries you have to pay an annual fee to be kept in their database, so mark it on your calendar. Also, most important, if you move, make sure your updated contact information gets entered into the pet recovery database.