In a large city, pet identification is a must. A sturdy collar and identification tags are a great way to identify your pet and keep him or her safe, but sometimes, these items are not enough. Microchipping your pet is a safe, easy way to identify your pet and help ensure he or she returns home safely.

About the size and shape of a grain of rice, a microchip is implanted under your pet’s skin in a procedure similar to a vaccination. Information about your pet is encoded into the microchip and veterinary hospitals and animal shelters across the country are equipped with scanners capable of detecting and reading microchips. If your pet is lost, his or her microchip is scanned and the information is used to reunite you and your pet.

Lost pet statistics

  • More than 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year (an estimation from the American Humane Association).
  • One in three pets will become lost at some point during its lifetime.
  • About 22 percent of lost dogs that enter animal shelters are reunited with their families, but the rate of return for microchipped dogs is more than 52 percent, which is a 238 percent increase (according to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association).
  • Less than 2 percent of lost cats that enter animal shelters are reunited with their families, but the rate of return for microchipped cats is more than 38 percent, which is a 2,000 percent increase (the same study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association).

Why you should microchip your pet

A microchip is a simple, tiny (about the size of a grain of rice), and an inexpensive way to give your pet a “voice.” It gives your pet the ability to tell the person who finds him who he is and where he lives. A microchip provides secure, reliable, and permanent identification, which greatly increases the likelihood that your pet if lost, will be returned home to you.

Why you should register your pet’s microchip

A microchip only does its job if it is registered with up-to-date contact information in a pet recovery database. The same study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association mentioned above also indicated that only 58 percent of microchipped animals in shelters have microchips that are registered in a database with their owner’s contact information. That means that more than 40 percent of the microchipped animals had microchips that were essentially useless.

Boston Street Animal Hospital uses the HomeAgain microchip system. Please ask a staff member for more information about microchipping your pet.