It’s 5 a.m. Do you know where YOUR pet is?
What comes to most people’s minds when hurricane season arrives:
-“I better get to the store before all the water/bread/canned goods other than strained peas are gone.”
-“Better make sure I have fresh batteries in all the flashlights. Better make sure I have flashlights…”
-“Maybe I should plan an evacuation route just in case.”
-“Or, maybe I should just invite everyone over for a hurricane party…”
What comes to a veterinarian’s mind when hurricane season arrives (in addition to the above):
-“I better double check to make sure my pets’ microchip information is current in case we get separated.”
Although it may not be the first thought that pops into many people’s heads, having your pet microchipped can offer many people a great deal of peace of mind during an emergency. Among one of the lessons we learned in veterinary medicine after Hurricane Katrina was how important a microchip can be in reuniting lost pets with their owners. Of course, collars with identification tags are the most readily identifiable way of telling whether a dog or cat wandering the streets is owned or not. But, while collars and tags can get lost if the collar breaks or somehow falls off, microchips are implanted under your pet’s skin and are programmed with a unique identification number. These days, all veterinary clinics and shelters are equipped with microchip scanners that universally detect all brands of microchips and it has become standard practice to scan any pet that comes in as a “stray”. Even outside of hurricane season, having your pet microchipped can be a lifesaver if your pet ever accidentally breaks out of the backyard, runs off his/her leash on a walk, or darts through that sliver of an open door when you’re walking in with an armful of groceries. In addition to reuniting lost pets with their owners, microchips can also provide a quick way of getting in touch with an owner if their pet is ever found injured and needs veterinary care.
If your pet is already microchipped, the most important thing you can do is to make sure your most current information is on file with the microchip company. Microchip scanners only pick up microchip numbers. The shelter or veterinary clinic that scans your pet will then contact the microchip company to get in touch with you. If your phone number(s) or address is not up to date, the microchip company will have no way of contacting you. If you’re not sure which microchip your pet has, you can use this website to type in the number and get the contact information for the microchip company – petmicrochiplookup.org. It is also a good idea to keep a tag with your pet’s microchip number on his/her collar. This way, anyone who finds your pet will have the number and be able to look it up right away. Some microchip companies even have a feature that allows a secured email to be sent to you if someone Google’s your pet’s microchip number.
If your pet is not already microchipped, please give our office a call so we can set up an appointment to have one placed. We hope you and your pets stay safe (and dry) out there this hurricane season!