The ASPCA has recognized July 1st as National ID Your Pet Day. July 4th is one of the top days of the year for pets to get lost; the fireworks can make them very frightened and anxious, and they can get panicked and escape.
The most common (and best) way to ID your pet is by microchipping. It is quick and inexpensive, typically costing about $40.
So what is microchipping? A microchip is a small implant that has a number assigned to it. It is typically put in between the shoulder blades for dogs and cats. If a lost pet is found, a scanner can be used to read the microchip and get information about the pet’s owner. All shelters and veterinary hospitals have the scanners that can read microchips.
It is extremely important that once you get your pet microchipped that you follow up and ensure that they are registered with the microchip company. In my experience many clients assume that just because they paid for the microchip that everything is done. That is not the case; as an owner you need to physically register the pets yourself! It is also important to update the information whenever there is an address change. Even though your pet may have been microchipped, July 1st can be a good annual reminder to ensure that your registered pet information is up to date.
There are other ways to ID your pet including name tags or collars with phone numbers embroidered in them. The problem with relying only on collars as identification is that the collars can get hung up somewhere and the pets can pull out of them. If the dog is found without a collar there would be no way to identify them. Just like a microchip, make sure that the information on your dog’s collar is up to date.
What do you do if your pet becomes lost? There are a variety of avenues you can pursue. Check your local shelter. Posting flyers in the neighborhood or posting on online sites like Craigslist can be useful. Social media is a very powerful tool to help reunite pets with their families: utilize Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Nextdoor, etc. to get your pet back.
I would like to share a recent story of one of my clients who was able to get her cat back with the use of a microchip. The cat actually got away from the owners at a California veterinary hospital as they were taking him in for an appointment. They searched all over for the cat with no success. The timing was especially bad because they were moving from CA to OR a few weeks later. Unfortunately they didn’t find their cat and have to move without him. Luckily they had microchipped him when he was neutered. Two whole years passed, and then out of the blue they received a phone call from their previous veterinarian informing them that someone had turned in the cat to the clinic. They drove down to California and were reunited with their long lost cat! So if your pet is microchipped you should never lose hope!
Have a happy and safe 4th of July!!