The statistics regarding lost pets are sobering.
- The American Humane Association estimates that more than 10 million dogs and cats are separated from their owners each year through theft or because they become lost.
- The American Kennel Club estimates that one out of three dogs will go missing from its family in its lifetime.
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters every year.
Unfortunately, not all of these pets are reunited with their human families. The best way to assure your pet is returned to you is to make certain it has proper identification, including a collar tag with the pet’s name, your address, and your phone number, as well as a microchip.
Microchips: Reunite with Lost Pets
As usual, this summer in Chicago’s West Loop community means lots of activities for people and their pets. Farmers markets, festivals, gatherings with friends and families, visits to dog parks – all these activities mean a great opportunity for pets to become separated from their families. A recent increase in the theft of pets also puts your pet at risk.
The best way to be certain your pet is returned to you should it become lost or stolen is to make certain your pet has proper identification – including collar tags and a microchip and to make certain that your contact information is up-to-date with the microchip company.
Microchips have been used for years and are easily implanted under your pet’s skin. At West Loop Veterinary Care, our veterinarians regularly implant microchips in pets and recommend doing so on your pet’s first visit with us if it doesn’t already have a microchip.
Quick facts about pet microchips
- A microchip is about the size of a grain of salt and carries a unique identification number.
- No battery power is required.
- They can be implanted during a routine visit, or while the pet is having another procedure. There is no need for anesthesia or surgery.
- Nearly all veterinary clinics, pet shelters, and some police stations have scanners to help reunite microchipped pets with their owners.
- There is virtually no maintenance once the chip is implanted and nearly all chips last for the pet’s lifetime. There are no moving parts and nothing to wear out or recharge. They are only activated when the appropriate scanner tool is used.
- If you move or change phone numbers, make sure you update the chip’s database and the tag on your pet’s collar.
- The only information connected to a pet’s microchip is the information you provide.
- Some animal shelters and breeders already chip all their pets, so check their paperwork or have your veterinarian scan your pet to ensure their unique ID is connected to your preferred contact information.
- A microchip is NOT a GPS system and is NOT able to track your pet’s location.
Finding Your Lost Pet
If your pet should become lost, whether or vacation, while visiting Chicago’s beaches and parks, or here in the West Loop, there are steps you can take to increase the chances of being reunited with your pet, whether or not it has a microchip.
- Have recent photos of your pet showing a close-up of their face, as well as a side view of their entire body.
- Know your pet’s size and weight.
- Create posters to distribute in your neighborhood or the area where your pet was lost with your pet’s photos, name, and size. Be sure to include your contact information.
- Contact Chicago Animal Care and Control if your pet was lost in or near the City of Chicago and check back daily to see if your pet has been brought to the shelter.
- Contact area shelters such as Chicago’s Anti-Cruelty Society and PAWS Chicago to see if your pet has been brought to them.
- List your pet on social media and online lost pet groups.
- Leave a piece of your clothing outside your home or wherever your pet was lost. The smell of your clothing may attract your pet to stay in the area.
West Loop Veterinary Care Can Help!
Our West Loop Veterinary Care team knows that microchips work in reuniting pets with their families. We regularly see it happen – sometimes even after an extended period. If your cat or dog does not have a microchip, contact West Loop Veterinary Care at 312-421-2275 or book an appointment online to schedule an appointment to have one inserted!