In 2015, the American Animal Hospital Association [AAHA] and the American Veterinary Medical Association [AVMA] established the first ’Check the Chip Day’ to ensure more happy endings for lost or stolen pets. The importance of “checking microchips” is for pet owners to make sure the data on their cats’ and dogs’ chips are up to date. This annual event also provides an opportunity for veterinarians to encourage microchipping those pets who haven’t yet gone through the procedure.
Chips only good as the data it contains . . .
Too often pet owners relocate, change phone numbers /email addresses or other contact info, and forget to update their pet’s microchip. In these cases, when a shelter or animal hospital tries to contact the owner of the pet, they get disconnected numbers and/or returned emails that bounce back — and ultimately serve no purpose.
"Microchipping your pet is vital," said Dr. Mike Topper, president of the AVMA. "But that's only the first step. If your pet's registration information isn't up to date, the microchip is all but useless. It takes less than two minutes to check and update your contact information, and this small act can make all the difference in the chance of a lost pet being reunited with its family."
Microchips are embedded under our pet’s skin using a hypodermic needle, similar to those used for vaccinations. No surgery or anesthesia is required – a microchip can be implanted during a routine veterinary office visit. After pets have been microchipped, contact information for the pet's owner is registered with the microchip's serial number in a database. This is the data a veterinarian or animal rescue staff can use to locate an animal's owner should the pet become lost or stolen.
To check and update your registration information, pet owners are required to log onto the database maintained by the microchip’s manufacturer. If owners don't remember the brand of your pet's microchip, contact the veterinarian who implanted it, or you can use the AAHA's Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool to do a quick search based on your pet's microchip number.
According to HomeAgain [HA], a supporter of National Check the Chip Day, 90 percent of lost pets without chip IDs are never returned to their rightful owner[s]. Microchipping your pet and keeping your registry information current is essential in protecting your animal. HA recently celebrated its two millionth microchip reunion in March when it reunited a 1-year-old American Staffordshire terrier with her family after being apart for 17 days. Bravo!