We hate to think of our pets getting out and getting lost, but if that day comes, would a Good Samaritan be able to reunite you? At SAGE Centers, staff always scan for microchips when stray pets are brought in, says SAGE Dublin Emergency veterinarian Dr. Lynne Morris.

“We try to contact their owners,” Dr. Morris says. “Fortunately, animal shelters microchip all dogs and cats they receive, but it’s up to the owner to update the microchip after they adopt them. Sometimes we find a chip, but it’s registered to the shelter. It’s not ideal, but sometimes we can track down the owners that way.”

Collars and tags can be helpful, but they are not as reliable as an implanted microchip with current contact information. August 15 is Check the Chip Day, so here are some tips for ensuring your pet can find you again if they’re lost or stolen:

  • Microchip your cats, even if they are indoor pets. It can be tough to keep a collar on a cat, and if they get out when they’re supposed to be indoors they may wander off and get lost. Without a collar or a chip, there is little chance your pet will find their way home.
  • Add “update microchip” to your moving checklist. Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, make it a priority to update your pet’s microchip before you leave town.
  • Update your chip before you travel with your pet. Dr. Morris recalls picking up a heat exhausted dog in Walnut Creek years ago and bringing him into SAGE. They scanned the dog and located his owners who were visiting from out of state and staying with friends—the dog had gotten out of the unfamiliar yard. When the owners picked up their dog at SAGE, they told Dr. Morris that they were in town because of a recent death in the family. They were already going through a tragic loss; losing their dog would have been more than they could bear.
  • Bookmark the universe. According to the American Medical Veterinary Association (AVMA), animal shelters and veterinarians will search a microchip manufacturer’s database first. The good news is, the American Animal Hospital Association’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool is linked to most microchip manufacturers and even some public microchip registries, says the AVMA. Bookmark it and use it to check the accuracy of your contact information.

To learn more about microchipping your pet, visit the AVMA’s site at:

https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Microchipping-of-Animals-Backgrounder.aspx