These days, there are a million ways to stay connected. Social media, email, texts… and yeah, phone calls, too (do people still do that?). But how can someone get in touch with you if your pet gets out or goes missing? Buddy may have his own Twitter account, but it’s the information attached to his microchip and pet’s registration that will be the quickest connection to get him home safely.
In fact, a study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters showed that microchipped dogs were more than twice as likely to be returned to their owners than dogs without microchips. And the return-to-owner rate for cats was over 20 times higher for microchipped cats over non-chipped kitties! In all, owners were found for 73% of microchipped animals. In cases where the connection couldn’t be made, most were due to incorrect or disconnected phone numbers in the microchip registry database. (Source: Lord et al, JAVMA, July 15, 2009)
So….. when was the last time you updated your contact information with your microchip company? Have you moved or changed your phone number or email address? Are the contact names still correct on your pet’s registration?
All of this information is vital to improving the chances of being reunited with your kitty or pooch if he wanders off.
Of course, your pet should always wear a tag, too. This is kind of a no-brainer, but make sure your pet has a collar and tag with his or her name and your contact information clearly printed on it. For kitties, it’s a great idea to add “Indoor Cat” or something similar to the tag, so anyone who finds her can be sure she isn’t supposed to be out! That said, keep in mind that collars can be damaged or lost, so a microchip is the only permanent ID.
If your pet does go missing, immediately contact local animal shelters and animal control agencies. And when we say local, cast a wide net – up to 60 miles! Pets can travel pretty far, and you don’t want to miss a chance to find them. If you can provide their microchip number and a recent photo, that’s even better.
Post flyers with pics around your area, at intersections, pet supply stores, veterinary offices, and grocery stores. Don’t forget to utilize your social media network, too. Your pet-loving friends and their pet-loving friends can cover a lot of ground in your search.
And most importantly, don’t give up! Happy reunions can take place even years later. That said, we don’t recommend letting them watch Homeward Bound, Milo and Otis, or anything else that might give them the idea to roam.