May is National Chip Your Pet Month!
You’ve probably heard about microchips: a pet microchip is the size of a grain of rice, and is implanted just beneath your pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades at the base of the pet’s neck. This permanent form of ID will not fall off or fade, as ID tags often do; in addition, it has no internal energy source, so it will last the life of your pet. The microchip is “read” by passing a special scanner over the pet’s body. The scanner emits a low radio frequency that provides the power necessary, where the chip is located, to transmit the microchip’s unique ID number back to the scanner to positively identify the pet. No personal information – about the owner or the animal – is contained within the chip itself, nor is the microchip GPS-enabled; instead, HomeAgain and other microchip registries use the unique ID number to locate the pet owner’s information, contact the owner, and facilitate the reunion of the pet and its family.
At Bellevue Animal Hospital, we provide microchips from HomeAgain. HomeAgain’s standard chip is the only dog & cat microchipping product on the market today that has a patented anti-migration feature to help ensure that the microchip will stay in place so that it may be easily located and scanned. Did you know that 1 in 3 pets go missing in their lifetime at least once? Microchipping is a lost pet’s best chance of returning home. Since HomeAgain was founded in 2001, it has been responsible for reuniting more than 2,200,000 lost pets with their families. Watch the sweet story of their 2 millionth reunion in the short video below!
If your pet is already chipped, that’s great! However, if you haven’t registered your contact information and details about your pet, there’s no way to reunite you with your furry friend if he gets lost. Pets with any brand of microchip – not just HomeAgain – may enroll in the HomeAgain service; you can register online, or right here in our office. Initial registration is $19.99 and includes a number of benefits: dedicated lost pet recovery specialists, a free 24/7 emergency medical hotline staffed by licensed ASPCA veterinarians, found pet travel assistance (if your lost cat or dog travels over 500 miles away, HomeAgain covers up to $500 in travel expenses to fly your pet back home,) and the ability to send out rapid Lost Pet Alerts and personalized Lost Pet Posters.
A common misconception among pet owners is that you must renew your pet’s registration annually, at the cost of $19.99, in order to keep your pet’s microchip number, description, your name, and your contact details in the HomeAgain database. This is not the case! Your pet’s information and your contact information stays in the HomeAgain database for life.
When your first yearly registration is nearing the expiration date, you will receive notices from HomeAgain, either by email or post. If you wish to keep the special benefits of membership, such as the free emergency medical hotline and found pet travel assistance, you will need to renew your registration and pay the annual fee. However, if you decide to forego those benefits and not renew the membership, rest assured that your pet’s information will remain in the HomeAgain database! If your furbaby ever goes missing, any animal shelter or veterinarian that scans the microchip and contacts HomeAgain will still be able to reunite you with your pet. The only other thing you need to do is KEEP YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION UP TO DATE!
It may seem like a “no-brainer,” but if you move, take your pet with you on an extended vacation (for example, if you’re spending the winter in Florida,) or if you get a new phone number or new email address, you MUST update the information in your pet’s HomeAgain profile! You can easily do this at any time on the HomeAgain website, or by calling them at 1-888-466-3242. If your pet is chipped and registered, the only major roadblock to getting it back to you is out-of-date contact information! Remember, when you move, travel, change phone numbers or email addresses, update HomeAgain with your new information asap!