Pet microchips effective but not foolproof

Microchips have become an increasingly common way to help identify dogs and cats that have wandered away from home.

The chips, about the size of a grain of rice, are implanted in an animal in much the same way a shot is given, said Inga Fricke, director shelter and rescue group services for the Humane Society of the United States.

Each microchip has an identification number that can be matched in a database with the owner’s name, address and phone number.

A scanner, which looks like a short, stout wand, is waved around the animal. If there’s a chip, the scanner should provide a number in a database that will be used to track down the owner.

The tracking system isn’t foolproof. Some scanners can’t read all the various types of chips that are manufactured. And there’s no single database into which all the identification information is registered. “So someone may have a chip they’ve registered but it may not show up in the database the veterinarian or shelter is looking at,” Fricke said.

And owners move or change phone numbers and don’t update the database.

For this reason, the Humane Society of the United States also recommends pets have collars and tags with identifying information.

“They should really go together,” Fricke said. If there’s only a microchip, that means anyone encountering a lost pet they don’t recognize wouldn’t know how get it back home, she said.

Pets wander for various reasons: just being energetic and curious, having more fun outside, raging hormones and July 4th firecrackers that frighten animals, Fricke said.

“They run and can’t find their way home,” she said.

Once lost, cats often hunker down in fear and won’t respond to calls, she said.

“The safest place for a pet, regardless of whether it’s a cat or dog, is safely indoors with you,” Fricke said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

To get drug money, Lynnwood man says he cut 911 wires

Those wires happened to be the ones used by 911 dispatchers, but emergency services weren’t affected.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Motorcyclist killed in crash had high level of THC

A motorcyclist had more than eight times the legal limit… Continue reading

Police: Driver threatens pedestrian, ends up in drug bust

Meth, cocaine and heroin were found in his car, along with a loaded pistol and cash, police say.

Son arrested for hitting father on head at Marysville home

The father grabbed a metal rod and struck his son in the head, too. Both needed medical treatment.

Ian Terry / The Herald Westbound cars merge from Highway 204 and 20th Street Southeast onto the trestle during the morning commute on Thursday, March 30 in Lake Stevens. Photo taken on 03302017
Pay a toll on US 2 trestle? 10,000 say no on social media

A GOP lawmaker’s chart shows theoretical toll rates of up to $6.30 to cross the trestle one way.

Angel of the Winds pays $3.4M for Everett arena naming rights

The casino replaces Xfinity as the lead sponsor for the prominent downtown Everett events center.

Most Read