Nationwide, 15% of pet owners report having lost their pet at some point. Given then number of dogs and cats in the country, this means tens to hundreds of thousands of pets become lost every year. Statistics show, that microchipped pets have a higher likelihood of being returned to their homes. Stray pets without identification tags or a microchip, are often kept at shelters and euthanized if the owners cannot be found.
The good news is there are a few simple ways to help make sure your pet doesn't become lost, and if it does, to increase your chances of being able to bring your pet back home.
What is a microchip? This is a small device, slightly larger than a grain of rice, that is inserted under the skin. Each microchip has its own unique number that is then registered to that pet. When a lost pet is brought to an animal shelter or animal hospital, a handheld chip scanner detects the number. From this, the owner can be contacted by the microchip company, shelter, or animal hospital.
Once the chip is inserted, you are given information to register the chip. This information is kept private by the microchip company. You must, however, go online to register the chip number to your information. This is the only way you can be contacted if your pet is found. Microchips are passive, so a pet must be scanned in order for the chip to be found. There are active devices, such as GPS trackers, that can be used with apps to track your pet's movement.
Other helpful suggestions for keeping your pet from becoming lost:
-Keep a collar on your pet all the time. Make sure the collar has a tag with up to date contact information.
-Check your fencing for weaknesses or holes that might allow your pet to escape.
-If possible, take your dog on walks around the neighborhood periodically, so that he or she can learn the routes back to the house if needed.
If your pet does become lost:
-Post information on social media
-Call local animal hospitals, send flyers to these hospitals, and send information to local animal shelters
-Notify your nearby neighbors