Billings_iStock_000019191267_LargeWith summer in full swing at last, many of us are spending weekends in the mountains and on the trails. And, not surprisingly, some of us are opting to bring our dog (or cat) along on our summer adventures, as well. Whether it’s taking a road trip, going camping, or just getting out for a morning hike, Billings pet owners just can’t seem to leave their pets at home.

But how can we help to ensure the safety of our pets – especially if they are separated from us in the great outdoors for some reason? Microchipping your pet may be the key.

Why Microchipping Your Pet Matters

While we are generally able to control the situations we find ourselves (and our pets in), it’s important to remember that any given situation can change in an instant, especially in the outdoors. Whether that change comes from a wild animal intruding on your campsite, or a flash flood coming up out of nowhere, there are plenty of opportunities for your pet to become separated from you in the middle of nowhere.

According to the US Geological Survey, Montana is among the top 10 earthquake-prone states in America. Add in our penchant for wildfires, flash floods and other possible disasters, and it’s easy to see how our pets can become separated from us. Although most pets find comfort in their human families, dogs and cats may instinctively hide or flee from home when disaster strikes.

While a collar and tags can certainly help your pet find his or her way home again, microchipping your pet can greatly increase our chances of seeing your beloved four-legged friend again.

How Microchipping Works

If you don’t already know, a microchip is a tiny computer chip, about the size of a grain of rice, which contains your contact information. We inject the chip under your pet’s skin, between the shoulder blades. The microchip is then programmed with your contact information and entered into an international database. A microchip scanner can read the chip in the event that your pet is picked up by an animal shelter or taken to a veterinary hospital.

While microchips do not act as GPS locators (yet), they do increase the odds of you and your pet being reunited – provided you keep your contact information up to date. In a 2009 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association study, it was found that only 58.1 percent of all microchipped animals that wound up in shelters were registered with the database. Current contact information is critical in reuniting lost pets with their owners.

Keeping Tabs on Our Furry Friends

Besides having a properly fitting collar and up-to-date, clearly visible ID tags for your pets, microchipping is a great way to help ensure that your beloved companion animals are returned to you, if you are separated from each other. Microchipping becomes especially important for animals that don’t wear collars (Meow). Having a registered and up-to-date microchip in place may mean the difference between being reunited with your family, or not.

If you have any questions about microchipping your pet, or if you’re ready to take the plunge, please give us a call.