Microchipping Helps Prevent Homeless Pets

Armen Hareyan's picture
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While the 15th annual National Homeless Animal Day will be observed on August 18, 2007, pet owners now have options for preventing their furry best friends from becoming homeless in the first place.

Modern technology is coming to the rescue of lost dogs and cats.

Microchipping allows a pet to reunite with its owner by storing its identification information in a pebble-sized chip inserted in the skin on the back of the animal's neck.

"It's as painless as a vaccination," said Katie Grant of PetFirst Healthcare. "Microchipping gives your pet a greater chance of being recovered because the identification system is permanent."

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There is no maintenance or replacement required with a microchip and it will last throughout a pet's lifetime. The cost of the procedure varies depending on the veterinarian and the other services performed, however some pet insurance policies can reimburse the costs.

Grant said in addition to covering microchipping costs, PetFirst provides coverage for medical expenses incurred when a lost or stolen pet is picked up by a good Samaritan, shelter or animal-services agency.

When a lost pet is recovered, a handheld microchip scanner reads the microchip's unique ID number and searches several databases for identification information. These scanners can be found at most animal hospitals, shelters or humane societies.

"Abby is a wild one," said Border Collie owner and PetFirst client, Betty Puckett of Lilburn, Ga. "She likes to run ... if the front door is open, she'll get out and I wanted her microchipped for her safety."

Puckett's PetFirst insurance policy reimbursed her for Abby's microchip earlier this year.

"Even with the most responsible pet owners something unexpected can happen," Grant said. "But planning for the unexpected can help protect that treasured family friend."

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