Gidget, a dog from Pittsburgh, was found more than 2,500 miles away in Portland, Ore. – and returned home!
George, a cat in California, was reunited with his family 13 years after he went missing!
Family reunions made possible by microchips happen every day, making the rounds on social media, and in local and sometimes national news reports. What’s less likely to make the news, though, is the heart-wrenching story of a microchipped pet that can’t be returned to its family because its microchip isn’t registered with accurate contact information for its owners.
It’s a sad situation, but unfortunately not an uncommon one. As important as microchipping is, a microchip is only as good as the contact information registered along with it. And six out of 10 microchips aren’t registered. That means 60 percent of families who are counting on a microchip to bring their pet safely back home will be sadly, devastatingly disappointed if their pet gets lost.
Check the chip – here’s how
It’s critically important to register every pet’s microchip – and equally important to make sure you keep the registration information up-to-date. If you move or change phone numbers, your pet’s microchip information needs to be updated to reflect your new contact information.
August 15 is Check the Chip Day, an observance created by the AVMA and the American Animal Hospital Association to remind pet owners to keep their pets’ microchip information up-to-date. Regardless whether you believe your pets’ chips have current information, take a few minutes to doublecheck. It’s not hard, and it might save you endless heartache someday.
You’ll need your pet’s microchip number, which your veterinarian can easily get by scanning the chip if you don’t already have it on file. (Tip: Ask your vet to scan the microchip during your pet’s regular wellness exam, or at least once a year, to make sure everything’s working as it should.) Then, just look up the chip’s registration information using the Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool to see if it pulls up accurate contact information for you. If it does, your pet’s chip is up-to-date. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to update the registration with the chip’s manufacturer; the Check the Chip web page has links to connect you to those manufacturers.
Microchip now if you haven’t already
Having a microchip doubles the chance of your lost dog being returned home and increases your cat’s chance of making it home more than 20-fold. If your pet isn’t microchipped already, take this opportunity to get that done. Make an appointment with your veterinarian for microchipping, and then make sure that you immediately register your pet’s chip.
Help spread the word
Please join us in spreading the word about Check the Chip Day and the importance of having up-to-date contact information registered with your pet’s microchip. Share this blog post and the video below with your friends and colleagues; embed this infographic onto your website (we've made it easy with copy-and-paste code); and when you read about amazing microchip reunions, remind all of your pet-owning friends and family members that microchips need to be properly registered with their manufacturers in order to help bring pets home.
Just for veterinarians
If you’re an AVMA member veterinarian, our handy Check the Chip Day toolkit will make it easy for you to observe Check the Chip Day in your clinic and on your social media feeds. Check it out today, and let us know if there are additional tools you’d like to see us add.
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Check the Chip Day video and promotional campaign made possible by a grant from Home Again.