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Home > General > National Chip Your Pet Month 2024: When It Is & How to Celebrate

National Chip Your Pet Month 2024: When It Is & How to Celebrate

vet checking microchip implant of dog

Sadly, we know what it’s like to lose a pet. We understand how helpless and devastated you feel. An estimated 15% of pet owners will experience these feelings.1 Dogs usually fare better than cats since they’re more likely to wear identification, even if it’s just a collar. The other factor in canines’ favor is that your neighbors are more likely to know your pet with you walking them daily. Cats, not so much.

Collars are essential whenever your pet leaves your home, whether intentionally or not. It’s the only way someone finding the animal can find its owner. However, collars aren’t infallible. Pets can slip out of one that isn’t properly fitted. That makes microchipping a better option since it’s permanent. National Chip Your Pet Month in May raises awareness about this excellent way to ID your animal companion.2


History of National Chip Your Pet Month

The National Chip Your Pet Month is the brainchild of the American Kennel Club (AKC). It emphasizes the benefits of passive integrated transponder devices (PIT tags) for tracking animals since the mid-1980s.3 It comes on the heels of its use in wildlife tracking developed during the 1950s.4 The two scenarios share a similar problem: keeping track of your target when conditions make them impossible to follow.

The benefits of wildlife biology are astounding. Likewise, this technology is equally beneficial to pet owners. The AKC and other animal welfare organizations have recognized its potential with pets. It offers a permanent means of identification that is always with the animal. The National Chip Your Pet Month seeks to educate owners and persuade them to get their animals microchipped.

veterinarian microchipping beagle dog with syringe
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Many companies offer this service, including HomeAgain, BuddyID, and 24PetWatch. The concept is easy to understand. A unique chip is implanted in the animal under the skin. It contains an ID assigned to the pet, providing a means to correlate the animal with its owner’s contact information. Someone finding a lost pet can scan it and obtain this unique number.

Organizations, such as the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)5, have a universal database to look up numbers. Companies typically use proprietary number sequences, making services like the AAHA’s critical to pet recovery. It’s a heartwarming effort by these organizations to come together to help pet owners.

George the cat provided the impetus for the designated month in 1995. It’s a unique story of a pet being reunited with its owners in 2008 because of the implantation of the chip. The hope of a reunion with a lost animal is a powerful motivator to get it done.

The Myths About Microchips

Unfortunately, many myths exist about microchips that make an awareness day or month necessary. First, let’s consider the procedure. The microchip itself is about the size of a rice grain. Injecting it into an animal isn’t painless, but it’s not inhumane. Many pet owners opt to get it done when they get their dogs or cats neutered or spayed. Any discomfort associated with its implantation is a non-issue.

Even if it isn’t done under anesthesia, the pain is fleeting. Of course, it’s easy to distract a kitten or puppy to make the aftermath less stressful. The chip is housed in sterile conditions to minimize any complications. It’s also implanted on the back of the neck in a place where the animal can’t scratch it to minimize the occurrence of any secondary bacterial infections.

The Benefits of Microchips

The ultimate benefit of getting your pet microchipped is the hope of a reunion with your lost pet. It’s a long shot if your animal doesn’t have identification. However, with a chip, research has found an 86.2% chance of finding your lost pet. That statistic is significant, considering the many perils facing a missing animal. Traffic, wildlife, and starvation are just a few of the threats it faces.

Other benefits exist, even if they pale in comparison. For breeders, you have indisputable truth of the identification of your breeding stock. If you conduct health screenings which you register with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), it’s a requirement. It establishes credibility with would-be buyers of your pets.

microchipping dog
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

As we’ve discussed, it’s not a difficult procedure. A vet doesn’t have to sedate your pet to implant it. It’s not expensive, either. You must register your pet, but you get many other benefits that make it a worthwhile choice.

The Legal Side

Many municipalities have made microchipping a requirement for a license. If you adopt a pet, the chances are it’s chipped before you buy it. Some breeders may have it done or require owners to do it. You may also have to chip your dog if it gets into a fight with another pet as part of the legal obligation. Authorities have recognized the value of microchipping, making it a part of pet ownership.

National Check Your Chip Day

Microchipping your pet is a vital first step. However, it’s equally as essential to keep your contact information current. One study found that only 58.1% of pets had the correct info. Getting the chip implanted in your cat or dog is only a part of the process. You must also register it with the manufacturer. Many companies offer other services to help your chances of recovery.

They may contact participating businesses and clinics about a lost pet. They often provide supplies like posters you can post in your neighborhood. They send alerts to shelters where someone may take a found pet. Therefore, microchipping is only as good as the information it contains. That’s the main reason why the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) sponsors it.

The organization encourages microchipping with its National Check the Chip Day on August 15. However, it also reminds pet owners to keep their information current. We can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for shelter employees to identify a lost animal only to find they can’t contact the owner.

PK paw divider

Final Thoughts

National Chip Your Pet Month is an excellent reminder to owners to safeguard their animals with permanent identification. It can mean the difference between reuniting a lost pet with one gone forever. Fortunately, the industry has taken the lead in making it a commonplace practice, whether you adopt a pet or get one from a breeder. The essential thing is that it gets done and that you keep the contact information up to date.

Featured Image Credit: olgagorovenko, Shutterstock

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