Preventing and Finding Lost Pets: Importance of Microchipping and High-Tech Gadgets

Countless pet owners have felt the pain of their precious pet going missing—sometimes never to come back. In most cases, though, a lost pet is a largely preventable occurrence, and even if your pet is on the loose, there are thankfully an increasing number of ways to improve the likelihood of their safe return.

In most cases, pets become misplaced either due to instincts (a male going off in search of a female in heat, for example) or simply boredom from a lack of exercise and interaction. But unexpected events such as celebratory fireworks or severe storms can cause them to run away and get lost due to fear and anxiety.

Shockingly, a surprisingly high number of pets are also stolen from their homes every year—as many as 2 million annually in the US alone, according to the American Kennel Club. Around 1 in 3 pets becomes lost at some point in their lifetime, and only 15.8% of dogs and 2% of cats are reunited with their owners, according to the American Humane Association.

What To Do If Your Pet Goes Missing:

If your pet gets loose, the first thing to do is search the area where they escaped—ask neighbours and anyone close by if they’ve spotted your pet. If your pet has a microchip, it will be scanned if they’re are found or taken to a rescue organization, vet, or shelter. You can also preemptively call these local facilities and tell them your pet is missing and give them an accurate description of your pet in case they turn up at a later stage.

Dr Chyrle Bonk, a member of the veterinarian team at, says that “by far the most successful and easy thing to help prevent pets from getting lost—and also, getting them home again—is having proper and current identification. This may be a tag on the collar, or better yet, a microchip.” In fact, many rescue shelters require that dogs and cats be both spayed/neutered as well as microchipped before they can be adopted by a new family. Bonk emphasizes that the chip technology is “a pet’s best chance at a ticket home.” veterinarian Dr Lorna Whittemore adds that while microchips are a great idea, it’s essential to ensure that they work and are up to date. She encourages having your pet’s chip scanned by your vet post-implant as well as at each annual checkup to make sure it’s working properly. She emphasizes the importance of providing as many ways to reach pet owners as possible within the microchip database. “You’d be surprised by the number of pets who are microchipped but whose owners we cannot get hold of because of outdated contact information.” She notes that most forms offer plenty of space for multiple contact details. “Adding those of a trusted friend or family member (with their permission) as a backup can be useful too,” she recommends.

Dr Whittemore also stresses the importance of prevention in keeping your pets safe with a few key tactics: “Keep your cats inside for a couple of weeks after any big move, train them in advance to respond to a call or whistle, and neuter your pets to stop them running off in search of a mate.”

Are High-Tech Gadgets a Quick Fix?

New technology has made finding a lost pet easier and quicker than ever before. You can now purchase collars with tracking devices that connect to your smartphone, so you’re able to pinpoint your pet’s exact location thanks to GPD technology. There are also apps with facial-recognition technology that send out photos of your pet to vets, rescues, and shelters, and even apps that help reunite lost pooches with their owners by using the dog’s unique nose prints to help identify them.

Despite all this new tech, Dr Chyrle Bonk reiterates that “by far our best system for locating lost pets is microchipping.” Pet industry experts emphasize that any new tech be supplementary to the failsafe of microchipping, which remains the first and most important line of defence for lost animals.

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