Mythbuster: Pet microchips are usually not GPS monitoring units

Animals with microchips have a higher rate of return than those without.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month, and local animal shelters and clinics are encouraging pet parents to microchip their fur babies.

Millions of pets are lost or stolen in the United States every year. According to a study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, only about 22% of lost dogs are reunited with their owner, but return to owner is much higher in dogs with microchips, at greater than 50%.

If you’re someone who thinks a microchip is like a GPS tracker, you’re wrong, but it can help reunite pet owners with their furry friends sooner rather than later.

It’s the size of a grain of rice, but a microchip is probably the best way to find your lost pet.

“It’s basically an internal dog tag. It’s an identification tag your dog can’t lose, “said Katie Martin, medical director of VCA Woodland.

Recently, a dog found in Michigan after being stolen from his Florida home seven years ago was reunited with its owner thanks to a microchip.

“It is always important that you keep the information on your microchip updated,” said Brianna Shahly, marketing and communications coordinator for the Humane Society of West Michigan.

A microchip is injected between your pet’s shoulder blades like a vaccine. When scanning, it will display a long series of numbers.

“We enter this online into a microchip ID system, which then connects us to the information on your pet’s microchip. With this information, we can contact you and make sure your pet gets home safe and sound, “said Shahly.

While there are products on the market right now like dog tags and collars with GPS tracking technology, experts say these can be easily removed or come off.

“It only tracks your animal when it’s in a certain area, but that’s a different product from microchips, too. Microchips don’t do that; You always have to be scanned to get this information, “Shahly said.

Microchips also allow owners to send an SOS

“If your dog is lost, you can call the microchip company and report the loss, which I did, and they fax all of the veterinary clinics in the area that this pet is missing. If you see this pet please call this number, “said Martin.

A $ 10 dog tag with your pet name and contact information is also recommended to increase the chances of your family member returning to your loving arms.

The Humane Society of West Michigan offers a walk-in microchip clinic Tuesday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., year round.

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