Chipping pets is a pretty cool process that backs up the information on a collar. But collars can be easily torn off by accident, or worse, removed for ill-intent.
So a chip is an awesome alternative.
And when you chip your pet, if they're ever brought into a Vet's office, they can scan and ID your buddy and if you've been disconnected from your loved one, good tidings would be in your future because they'll have all that up-to-date information online from the chip administrator. Right?
But if you have chipped your pet, you need to keep that thought in the forefront of your thoughts, much like your credit cards, drivers license and other such venues that you find you have to update if and or when you ever move.
Yes, moving is a pain in the (WOOP!). And it's not just the packing that's a bugger, but aligning all the forces of logic and changing your address with all your creditors, official entities from the local and federal government agencies, and yes, amongst that checklist, should be updating your pet's chip data online when you move. (I'd suggest during or before the move!)
Now I know that you can't imagine your pet getting lost on you. Most folks don't. But the ASPCA says that upwards of 7 million companion animals find themselves in shelters every year. Roughly 65% of them end up being euthanized.
What's even scarier or sadder is that roughly 2% of the lost cats or upwards to 20% of the lost dogs are ever returned to their homes and families.
I know it seems improbable that your animal would ever get out, away and/or lost. Many people (millions) actually believe that. But what you don't take into account is what happens when your furry friend gets frightened by something.
Unlike humans who can use logic or desensitization about things that go on around them, animals are always keenly aware of their surroundings.
And as I've learned from my (dog's) trainer, Trainer Trish, (a local, Bay Area trainer) even familiar things can spook your dog from time to time, just because.
I've seen it first-hand, back during the Northridge earthquake, terrified animals running helter-skelter, straight into traffic. (This was hours after the event took place.) That's because they don't have our logic. They have their instincts that take over. And they're not always good instincts, as the urge to run kicks in and won't turn off until they're exhausted and or lost.
Which segues into my next set of thoughts, and that's when you do have the opportunity to have control over your animal.
So when you're one of those folks that might walk your dog with an "invisible" leash because they "won't go anywhere," or think you can catch your dog or cat if you need to, you are sadly mistaken, and you will become one of those mourning ex-pet owners if you don't take enough (non-lazy) precautions to prevent this from happening.
And while you're sad about events like losing your pet, keep in mind that during that time your pet is scared, cold, starving and is probably suffering until it gets picked up to be tossed in a shelter or dies on the street.
Of that earlier quoted number of 20% of the lost pets get returned home, that was because of identifying processes in place, whether it be tattoos, chips or collars.
So even though it would never happen to you, I don't think it would hurt to look at what precautions you could take... just in case.
Here in the Bay Area, the local Human Society has a piece on what to do if your pet does get lost.
Do a Google search on "pet microchip" if you are interested, or ask your local vet.
Very insightful animal trainer in the Bay Area: Trainer Trish (Wamsat)
One of the best (and most popular) Animal Hospitals in the Bay Area, on the Peninsula: Adobe Pet Hospital