Microchips for pets are a popular way to help locate lost pets and reunite them with their owners. But while these chips have proven to be highly effective, they can be useless if not registered properly and updated with the owners’ current information.
To help remind pet owners of the importance of properly registered and updated microchips, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) established Check the Chip Day, recognized this year on Wednesday, August 15.
“Every week we come across stories about pets being reunited with their families after going missing for months, even years, all thanks to their microchips,” says Dr. John de Jong, president of the AVMA. “But even with microchips, these pets wouldn’t have made it back home if those chips weren’t registered or contained outdated information. Check the Chip Day is a great reminder to not only make sure your pet is microchipped, but to ensure that those chips are registered and updated with your current contact information.”
Microchips are embedded under the skin using a hypodermic needle, similar to those your pet receives for vaccination. No surgery or anesthesia is required—a microchip can be implanted during a routine veterinary office visit.
After pets have been microchipped, contact information for the pet’s owner is registered to the microchips serial number in a service database that veterinary staff can use to locate an animal’s owners should the animal become lost.
The American Animal Hospital Association has a Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool, which is a free, web-based resource that can assist with microchip identification. The tool helps reunite pets and owners by checking the registries of participating pet recovery services to determine with which registry the chip is registered. The tool can be used by pet owners and veterinarians alike. However, pet owners are unable to update their chip’s contact information through the service. They must contact the pet recovery service with which their chip is registered in order to do so.
To help veterinarians reach out to clients and educate them about microchipping and the importance of keeping chip registration current, the AVMA has assembled a Check the Chip Day Toolkit with a broad range of materials to promote and prepare for the day. Resources in the toolkit include:
- A client handout to help owners keep track of their pet’s microchip information and know when the chip registry was last checked.
- Suggestions for stress-free ways to observe Check the Chip Day and for sharing information with clients.
- Ready-to-use social media posts and images.
- A full-size version of the microchipping infographic shown here, which you can use on your website or social media.
- A newsletter article for your email or printed newsletter.
- A sample proclamation that can be personalized for use by your local or state government.
- A customizable press release to let your clinic and your doctors get the word out to local media.