Starlight Pet Talk

The Lifesaving Importance of Microchipping Your Pets

November 28, 2023 Amy Castro, MA, CSP Season 1 Episode 44
The Lifesaving Importance of Microchipping Your Pets
Starlight Pet Talk
More Info
Starlight Pet Talk
The Lifesaving Importance of Microchipping Your Pets
Nov 28, 2023 Season 1 Episode 44
Amy Castro, MA, CSP

Don't miss our latest episode where we delve into the lifesaving benefits of microchipping your pets! Join host Amy Castro and special guest Dr. Matt Goetz, DVM, MBA from Merck Animal Health, makers of HomeAgain microchips, as we explore:

- How microchips work and their effectiveness in reuniting lost pets.
- Why traditional methods like collars and tags may not be enough.
- The importance of microchip registration and dispelling common myths.
- Addressing safety concerns and protecting your pet's privacy.
- Heartwarming stories of successful reunions thanks to microchips.

Tune in to equip yourself with the knowledge and steps needed to ensure your pet's safety and peace of mind!

Shoutouts in this episode:
HOMEAGAIN Pet Recovery, AAHA Microchip Registry Lookup

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Support the show: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/starlightpettalk

LISTEN & FOLLOW!
▷ Official Site: https://www.starlighpettalk.com

▶ Facebook: / starlightoutreachandrescue

▶ YouTube: -https://bit.ly/starlightsubscribe

▶ TikTok: / starlightou...

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Don't miss our latest episode where we delve into the lifesaving benefits of microchipping your pets! Join host Amy Castro and special guest Dr. Matt Goetz, DVM, MBA from Merck Animal Health, makers of HomeAgain microchips, as we explore:

- How microchips work and their effectiveness in reuniting lost pets.
- Why traditional methods like collars and tags may not be enough.
- The importance of microchip registration and dispelling common myths.
- Addressing safety concerns and protecting your pet's privacy.
- Heartwarming stories of successful reunions thanks to microchips.

Tune in to equip yourself with the knowledge and steps needed to ensure your pet's safety and peace of mind!

Shoutouts in this episode:
HOMEAGAIN Pet Recovery, AAHA Microchip Registry Lookup

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Support the show: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/starlightpettalk

LISTEN & FOLLOW!
▷ Official Site: https://www.starlighpettalk.com

▶ Facebook: / starlightoutreachandrescue

▶ YouTube: -https://bit.ly/starlightsubscribe

▶ TikTok: / starlightou...

Amy Castro:

Anyone who's ever lost a pet knows the agony and the worry about where they are, whether they're hungry, whether they're hurt and, probably the biggest question, whether you're ever going to see them again. Well, on today's episode of Starlight Pet Talk, we're going to talk about one simple thing that you can do that will greatly increase the odds that, if your pet goes missing, that you will see them again. So stay tuned. You're listening to Starlight Pet Talk, a podcast for pet parents who want the best pet care advice from cat experts, dog trainers, veterinarians and other top pet professionals who will help you live your very best life with your pets. We also share inspiring rescue and adoption stories from people who've taken their love of pets to the next level by getting involved in animal welfare. My name is Amy Castro and I'm the founder and president of Starlight Outreach and Rescue and a columnist for Pet Age Magazine. I've rescued thousands of animals and helped people just like you find the right pet for their family. My mission is to help pet parents learn all the ways that they can care for, live with and even have fun with their pets so they can live their very best lives and their pets can too.

Amy Castro:

Welcome to Starlight Pet Talk. I'm your host, amy Castro, and my guest today. Dr Matt Goetz is the senior professional services veterinarian to Merck Animal Health. They're the makers of the Home Again microchip as well as many other great products that enhance the lives of our pets, and Dr Matt works really closely with organizations around the country to help them make a positive impact on has also served as a medical director for an animal shelter in Phoenix, Arizona in their community. But what I like most about him is that he has seen the life-saving impact of microchips for pets firsthand and I'm sure the frustration that I and a lot of our colleagues in rescue and sheltering have faced when you find an animal that doesn't have a microchip and you desperately want to get them back to their family and you just struggle. So, Dr Matt, thank you so much for being on Starlight Pet Talk today.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Thank you for having me. I've been looking forward to doing this.

Amy Castro:

Yeah, this is one I've been looking forward to as well, because, like I said, I've been doing this for over probably 13, 14 years now, and there's nothing more exciting than running that scanner over an animal and having it go and then actually being able to read and reunite the animal with the owner. But I also wanted to educate pet parents, because a lot of people have some misconceptions about what the microchip is, what it can and cannot do and the impact of the microchip. So, if you don't mind, can you start off, not at a hugely technological level, but just give us a ballpark idea of what exactly is the microchip and how does it work.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yeah, I'd be happy to do that. So the microchip itself is about 12 millimeters, so it's pretty small. It's a standard size microchip, so about the size of a piece of rice. As I tell people, what we do with that is as veterinarians, is we'll actually implant that under your dog's skin and for the most part it generally goes between the shoulder blades. But it's actually kind of there's no battery to it, it's inactive, so there's no need to replace it or moving parts or anything like that.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

And then in terms of what we get from that is there is a personal kind of identification number on that microchip. So let's say, your animal's lost or goes missing and then somebody takes our scanners or our scanner and scans that animal. What we would show up is that personal identification number and usually the number the manufacturer to call. That's generally how a microchip, the size of it and how it works. Obviously we'll get into a little bit more detail, but overall that's kind of. What we're looking at is kind of that small grain of rice just going under the skin and that's going to give your pet lifetime identification.

Amy Castro:

And I know we stress the importance of it. But I'm just curious to hear from your perspective why do you think microchipping pets is a critical thing in today's world?

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yeah, I mean I think for so many reasons and me personally I've had my own pets go missing that have had to be scanned and get it back to me.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

So the value of it is something that, as a personal person going through it, I can't overemphasize the value of that microchip. But all of us were kind of we move or hey, we're walking our dog one day and we're all good pet parents, as I always tell people. So this ends up first saying, hey, you're a bad pet parent, but this is for the times that we don't think of. So I'm taking my dog for a walk and it gets spooked and it slips his leash and he runs away. So now he's got no leash on, no tags, no identification, no call or nothing like that. And, oh my gosh, how are we going to get back in contact with our animal? Well, having that microchip there, if the animal is picked up by you know good Samaritan, taken to a veterinarian, or picked up by animal control, and they scan that animal and they find that microchip, then they can contact you and get you back in connection with your animal and happily ever after.

Amy Castro:

Yeah, we hear from a lot of people who will say, well, my dog's got a collar and a tag, but, like you said, they slip out.

Amy Castro:

Actually, I just did a favorite products episode and I was talking about a thing that I love which is a martingale collar, because too many times people who have their collars too loose or, like my dog, has a big fat bulldog neck and she does have a big fat head, but the big fat head is just that much smaller than her neck that no regular collar can be tight enough without choking her to not go over her head Should she try to pull away or just sit down and decide she doesn't want to move anymore.

Amy Castro:

So, yeah, having a collar and tags is awesome, but if it's hanging at the end of your leash and your dog is a mile away, it's not doing you any good. I know I also see a lot when I see posts for lost pets and I've probably seen it a hundred times he wasn't wearing his collar because he just got a bath, put him outside to dry off, shake off or whatever, or they bathed him outside or her, and the next thing you know it's gone and it has no identification. So you're so close yet so far. At that point, is there anything statistically or just from your opinion? How much does it increase the odds that I'm going to get my pet back if the pet is microchipped?

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yeah, I think it's going to greatly increase the odds. So if you think about it most likely if your dog or cat were again to be picked up by a good Samaritan and taken to a veterinarian and they scan it or animal control the fact that we have that personal identifier that can then track back to you and we can reunite you, that already increases the odds substantially versus having no identification, makes it almost zero that we may reunite you with your dog. But having that really greatly increases the chance. And from a home again perspective, we actually get a phone call about every six minutes in terms of a pet owner saying Fluffy got out or Max ran away or something like that. And so we get a phone call about every six minutes to report a pet loss and then we've actually reunited more than three million pets with their owners. So we have a great terms of statistics reuniting those animals.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Three million is, I mean, that's a lot of animals and there's about 10 million animals in our database alone. So a lot of animals out there have microchips. So a lot of people see the value in microchipping the pet.

Amy Castro:

Yeah, another common thing I see on Facebook and other places where people have lost a pet, or I'll even have owners tell me do I really need that? Because my cat's an indoor cat. It's like, yeah, until somebody leaves the door open and none of my cats wear collars. Maybe I'm a horrible person, but I just have never put collars on my cats. They are all microchipped and I can't tell you the amount of times that one in particular has ended up in the yard.

Amy Castro:

Or I had a cat that was gone for 10 days right before Christmas because the last person who went out the door after that Christmas party didn't shut the door all the way and I woke up about one in the morning and freezing my butt off because the back door was wide open and Bandit was gone.

Amy Castro:

And the feeling of knowing that number one that was my fault, you know and not being able to find him for 10 days and the signs and the searching, the neighborhood and the worry and wonder about what's happening to him is just. I don't wish that on anybody for their pet. And he could have been found and had that microchip scans sooner. It would have saved us a lot of heartache and thank God he did come back. But too many pets don't find their way back because as somebody that rescues them I can very often tell, like there's sometimes it's so obvious that a pet is owned but we have no way to track back the owner because there's no tag, there's no microchip, you know, I don't see any signs anywhere and people don't necessarily know what to do to get their pet back. So it's sad because you know somebody's hurting really badly when that pet is missing.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yep, yep, I have nothing as great more panic in me. My wife accused me being a helicopter parent with our cats and when they have gotten loose, it's that sinking feeling. So I've been there with you, so having somebody to reach out to, especially I love the fact that you can call somebody home again, versus just an email or web form, and be like, hey, fluffy got loose, and that help you kind of through that in terms of just that sinking feeling that we all get when we've lost a pet.

Amy Castro:

Yeah, it actually even just happened to me the other day too. I have this little. We brought in this little like a 10 pound, very genetically messed up looking little French bulldog, and nobody had gone out. But the dog disappeared and I was freaking out. I got in my car I'm driving up down the street because we had literally just gotten her. She had no color on no microchip, she had mange, and so we hadn't really done much to her yet. And I was on the phone with animal control saying, hey, if you happen to get this animal picked up, and then I heard this strange snorting noise coming from underneath the recliner and she was in this. It has a slip cover on it and she was like in the hammock that she'd made of the slip cover.

Amy Castro:

And it's like I mean I was dying and I was panicking about this dog missing, and so it's just again. It's just a terrible feeling. One of the things that I used to run into when I was volunteering at an animal control facility where we routinely microchipped the animals before adoption, is that there were a lot of misconceptions or maybe concerns that people had about microchips Everything from can a microchip give my pet cancer to. I remember one lady in particular that was really concerned about whether that microchip was like a tracking device that everybody would have all her information. Can you talk to some of the misconceptions that you have heard and share the truth?

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yeah, yeah, and that's something I've heard, those similar concerns. So I think in terms of, oh my gosh, I'm gonna, it's gonna cause cancer in my dog or something like that. And microchips are extremely, extremely safe. So they're hermetically sealed. So what that means is, hey, when we implant them, they're not going to react with your dog's body, so they're not going to react to fluids in your dog's body or cat or the fat or anything like that. So they're very, very safe. If they weren't safe, I wouldn't put them in my own pet. So that's what I always tell pet owners is every animal I've had has always been microchipped, so they're very safe. And then some of those other kind of misconceptions that, yeah, in terms of is this gonna, is this gonna be tracking me, or is this going to be, you know, listening in on me, or things like that Nope, there's, there's no GPS tracker in those microchips.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

There's no microphone in those microchips. There's no way we can actually look, you know, on a computer or a cell phone and see you know you or your dog moving or anything like that. So nope, there's no GPS. I think some of the other misconceptions are we're all concerned about privacy nowadays. That's been a big point of discussion, I think, around microchips too. Is my information going to be in that microchip and is is that person going to scan that microchip and be able to know my name and my date of birth and where I live? Nope, that none of that information is available. So the only thing when we scan a microchip is the number and then also usually the, the manufacturer 800 number, and then certain microchips also have basically temperature sensing technology. So very, there's a little bit of data that we get off of there, but nothing that's going to expose your personal information. So from a privacy standpoint it's very, very safe as well.

Amy Castro:

And one thing I want to feel free to add on or correct if I am incorrect in stating this, but one of the things, because I was one of the people that did a lot of the calling. And we do it at the rescue. You know, we've got scanners, we scan, we get a number, we call the microchip company and they have the contact information for the owner. But the owner has the ability to to say you can share this information or you can't. So there are sometimes when I've called and they were and they will provide me, not just some random person off the street but somebody who is representing an actual rescue. They verify that we're a real rescue. They get our phone number and our name and all of that and you know then they'll provide us the contact information.

Amy Castro:

But I have called and we use home again chips. We happen to do to use home again chips and you know it'll say you know the owner. I can't remember the verbiage that they use, but basically the owner has opted not to have their information shared, so home again actually does the contacting and then has the owner get back in touch with us. Is that accurate to state it that way?

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yeah. So, in terms that you basically hit the nail on the head in terms of, yeah, we're very, very protective of that personal information. And so, yep, they, if I was a veterinarian, I call and say, hey, this is the number I found. And home again we'll say, great, we will contact that owner and then we'll kind of work on that reunification from there. But they, they are very, very careful to disclose any information because, again, we are we're very aware of how sensitive privacy issues are nowadays. We want to keep everybody's information as private as possible.

Amy Castro:

Definitely. As far as microchips, I mean, obviously home again is not the only microchip company and I will say that we have used other ones. I know one of the frustrations that I've run into in trying to. You know you scan an animal, you get a number and if it's not a major company like home again, sometimes it can be super tricky to even get a hold of or to even find out what company it is. No-transcript, you know we'll go online to the I think it's American Animal Hospital Association that does the website where you can put in the number, and it's occasionally come back with this. It could be any number of these companies and then you start calling them like nope, it's not ours, nope, it's not ours. So that's leading me to the question of you know why is it so important to pick a quality or a good or a reputable I don't know what word I want to use microchip and the company itself, when you have that option to do that for your pet?

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yeah, you know, and I think that's a very important distinction there, because there are many things that that home again, as I say, brings to the table for your pet. So we have been in business a very long time, so we have a long history, so it's not like we're going to be bought and sold and bought and sold. Some of the smaller companies are kind of, you know, bought and sold pretty regularly, so we have a long history. We have what we call our advanced loss pet recovery service. So basically that's our calling center. So, hey, you can call us, you can email us, you can send us a form. Whatever communication works for you.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

And I know some of us have no problem picking up the phone and calling. Some of us would love to do everything by text message. So there's all these kind of different ways, you know, in terms of reaching out to us. But that is very, very important in terms of especially, I believe, having that ability to call and talk to somebody, because I don't know about you, but when I've lost my pets in the past, I don't feel comfortable just sending an email or just filling out a form. I want to know that somebody got that information and they are immediately trying to get it Exactly, and they're because we all know time is of the essence and I want to know that somebody has an information that's been recorded in the system, everything like that, versus just sending an email or again hoping that, hoping that somebody gets back to me, or even that email didn't get lost in cyberspace.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

There's always that potential out there in terms of stuff getting lost in the shuffle. So having a well staffed resources behind the microchip is just as important as the microchip itself, and I don't think a lot of people realize that. But having that again, having that well staffed group of people, really makes the chances of being reunited with your pet even higher.

Amy Castro:

Yeah, and that's why I think it's important that people because we've had people our home again chips are, you know it's rolled into the adoption fee and our adoption fees are quite low.

Amy Castro:

But I also do in my professional pay job. I do consulting with veterinarians and sometimes people will complain or will do like a clinic and it's like you want me to pay this amount, you know $25, it's like that and people will complain about the price. But you know it kind of goes back to the old adage in many instances that you get what you pay for. At least I think. If somebody didn't know, like maybe and we're going to talk about how people can know where their chip came from and that kind of thing but is there some type of global database where microchips get registered so that if I had the number for my microchip but I didn't remember you know what company it came from, or I couldn't get a hold of somebody because maybe it's not a 24 seven operation like you are. Is there somewhere I can go out to say, hey, my pet is lost?

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yeah, so in terms of being able to try to figure those things out, there's not a, you know, international or national database of everything where you can get all that information. You know, like that per se. But as you were kind of talking earlier, so ah-ha. So the American Animal Hospital Association.

Amy Castro:

So, ah-ha.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

If you were to Google ah-ha microchip lookup, you can go to their website and if you have the microchip number of your pet, you can put that information in there and you put in the microchip number. Again, it's not going to say who the chip is registered to in terms of your personal information, but what it will hopefully tell you is hey, this microchip is registered to Home Again. Here is Home Again's contact information, here is their website information, all those things. And this chip was last registered on January of 2023 or January 31st of 2023. So I actually tend to use that database a lot.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

I do a lot of outreach clinics, so kind of like free outreach clinics, and I have a lot of people that their address may not be a stable address or they may kind of be in between homes, things like that, but they come to get services and they want to know, hey, does my dog have a microchip and can you tell me the number and things like that. So I actually use that website pretty frequently to figure out what their microchip number is, say, hey, this is the person you need to call to make sure what information is in there, all those things, and I think that gives people peace of mind to know exactly what that microchip number is, who their company is, who they need to call, all those different things. And it's easily found for pet owners, usually through the All Hall website.

Amy Castro:

Yeah, that's good for people to know for sure. You know some organizations will wait until the animal goes to be spayed or neutered and do the microchip. Then we don't do that here because that animal that we might adopt out if I adopt out, let's say, a 10 week old kitten that animal's not going to get neutered until around five months or so and that's a long time to go without a microchip. So we microchip right here and I know a lot of times people have expressed concern about you know, oh, is it going to hurt my pet? Or they don't want to look when we're doing it.

Amy Castro:

And I'll be perfectly honest Sometimes I have microchipped little kittens and it's like nothing happened to them. I happened to be pretty quick and pretty fast at it. And then there have been other animals where you barely start touching them and they're acting like they're being murdered. We have some melodramatic animals. So does it actually really hurt the pet or is it really just kind of maybe a personality of the pet if they have a bad reaction? Because sometimes people get a little concerned about that.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yeah, and that's definitely a good question, because I do think, yep, you know, you think, oh my gosh needle going into pet, it's going to hurt and things like that. And I think it's like you and I, when we go get a vaccine or something like that, when we get injection it does have just that little kind of pin prick for just a second when we're getting that injection. Same when we're giving a microchip there is just a little bit of pop through the skin. But there's some ways we can kind of address that. So if I, when I was a shelter veterinarian, I microchipped most of the pets on intake. There was a few that I would microchip at the time of surgery, just that they were really rambunctious or things like that.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

But then if I did my public facing events, I actually used what we call the mini chips and they're actually a little bit smaller and the pet seems to not be as reactive. Because I'm in Arizona, as I tell people, I live in the land of Chihuahua's and I see a lot of Chihuahua's and I found that sometimes using those mini chip they don't necessarily hurt the pet, they're less or anything like that, but I do think it doesn't cause quite the reaction, and then the pet owner has a better experience with it. So, and the pet has a better experience too. So I think sometimes there are different ways we can go with that, depending on your pet, on yourself, or if you are a rescue organization, or if you're listening to this and you're doing some outreach work. I think sometimes using those mini chips also works really well.

Amy Castro:

Yeah, that's definitely good to know. It's always that concern that to have that reaction in front of the pet owner and then they think, oh, you've done something wrong or you know, my pets hurt now because of it. So the microchips you know you were talking about how safe they are from the standpoint of being enclosed and not reacting with the animal's body. So once they get in there, do they work forever? Can they fail? Do they stay in place? Because that's one thing that I have run into with animals, especially older animals, where the microchips were done years ago, that I've scanned the body and not found it between the shoulder blades, I found it in the leg. What's the story there?

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yeah, and we were talking kind of before the show. So my personally, my yellow lab had two microchips and the reason was, yep, she got her first microchip and I can't remember the name of the company. It was so long ago, but it went between the shoulder blades and then about a year later I had her at vet school and we were scanning our dogs or something like that, and I found that her microchip was down in her right leg and it migrated. So one thing I do really really like about the Holmigan microchips is we have this what we call our biobond technology. So when we place that microchip between the shoulder blades, like most of us usually do, it's going to stay there, which is great. It's not going to move. That is really really important, because most of the time, you know, it's going to move.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Those of us that are going to scan animals yes, hopefully we're scanning head to tail and all the legs and everywhere in between, Just just to make sure. But sometimes you have somebody or you have a dog that's jumping around. It's hard to scan and we want it to be in between those shoulder blades so it's easy to scan there and pick up in terms of is it battery operators or moving parts to it or things like that. There's no actively moving parts to it. There's no batter to replace. You don't have to go back in six years later and change out a battery or something like that. It's good for life. The only thing that's going to activate that chip is when we take our scanner and we scan on the top of it. That's going to cause enough to activate that chip to get that Identification number off the chip again. But then that's all we're going to do and again, it's lifetime. No need to replace. No need to replace because of movement, because we got that strong biobond technology that's going to hold it in place.

Amy Castro:

That's definitely good to know because, you're right, it does make it easier when you know, because that's always where you start is right between those shoulder blades, and it's like, if you don't find anything, then you start kind of going around and and it can be tricky with a wiggly pet or to, I mean, to be perfectly honest, when you've got an animal control facility that's bringing in dozens of animals in a day, it might, you know, it might become real easy to just do a quick scan and assume there's no chip and there might actually be one. So that's good to know that the technology is certainly getting better. From this standpoint, like as far as maybe a step-by-step or However you want to phrase it, if I discover my pet has gone missing, what are some things that I can do, other than my pet being microchip?

Dr. Matt Goetz:

But in that process of trying to find my pet, to increase the odds that I'm gonna get my pet back, yeah, there's some things that we can do, and this is like hey, we all have our smartphones nowadays, so, on my smartphone for all of my animals.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

I actually have a contact card for each one of my pets and it has a their picture, it has their microchip number and it has their basic information. You know Data, birth, things like that, you know any little kind of important little tidbits, and I actually always have that with me, obviously on my phone, and I think most of us nowadays we can't leave our smartphones sitting for more than five minutes, so we can use that to kind of our advantage and create those contact cards. So I think that is really helpful too, again, because if we were to our pet were to go missing, we would have that information, our fingertips. You know, hey, this is the home again number, this is my pets microchip. You know, this is a picture of my pet, all those different things. So then when we do call in to home again and we say, hey, this is the microchip, that's gonna make the process so much easier because, again, I don't know about you, but if we've talked about it, when you lose your pet, you have that moment of oh my gosh panic.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

I don't know the microchip number. I can't remember this. I can't remember that. It's all right there and that's why I create those contact cards for my own pets, because, just peace of mind, I'm ready to go if the unthinkable happens, type of thing.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

You know putting up. I always say and we have our, our home again Premium service. And this is kind of where the confusion is, where, hey, it doesn't, it doesn't cost any money ever To keep your information up to date with home again. So if you move, if you get a new cell phone number, if you get a new email address, all those things, that doesn't cost you any money at all to call in and update your information. The premium services there is a yearly fee associated with that, but part of that yearly fee that you get it's I think it's a very reasonable fee.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

You get something that's gonna actively help you look for your animals. So they're going to print up posters for you that say, hey, fluffy went missing. Here's a picture of fluffy and fluffy's information. You know they're going to hopefully, when Fluffy's found, if what, these lost a great distance and you know we're gonna help send fluffy home With up to a certain dollar money. So maybe we need to fly puppy to or fluffy back from another stage or something like that. So there's all kinds of other services that we offer through our premium services to help you get reunited with your pet, because at the end of the day we want all pets to be with their owners. We know, at the end of the day, that pets do their best with their owners. As, as much as I am a shelter veterinarian, I one of those people that, hey, if we didn't have to have shelters tomorrow and all pets were with their owners all the time, that'd be fantastic.

Amy Castro:

I wish I could be on the job. You know me too. The rescue life is yeah, it can be rewarding, but it's a lot of work and if it wasn't needed I'd be happy to do something else and just do this podcast all the time.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yep, exactly, you're all the fun stuff Exactly.

Amy Castro:

You know a good point that you made. Because we registered the chips initially because we want to make sure that the numbers are entered correctly, that the name is entered correctly, the address and everything else, that there's no typos or anything like that. And we've also found that in our experience and this is coming from my previous experience if you hand an owner An adoption packet with the little Home again tag and it's like here's your tag, here's the registration form, go do it yourself. It's shocking how many people don't do it. So we just do it, you know, we just do it for them when the animal gets adopted.

Amy Castro:

But another thing that I found too is that people don't register the chip or they don't excuse me update the registration on the chip. And that's something that parents really need to realize is that if you're like you and I were talking before, you've moved multiple times. I've probably moved 12 times in my adult life and if you don't keep that microchip information Updated, it can get super hard to track you down. They go looking for me on Ramblewood Drive in Colorado Springs. I don't know that they'd be able to figure out where I am now because I've moved three times since then. So it's so important for pet parents to make sure that that's updated, and I'm glad you said that, because I've had a lot of people come back and say, well, I was gonna update it, but then it was this fee and I didn't want to pay the fee and there is no fee to go in and just update your microchip. So I'm glad that you clarified that.

Amy Castro:

Yeah is there? Is there any other maintenance or anything that needs to be done regarding the chip? Or it's just in there and does its thing when you need it to do it?

Dr. Matt Goetz:

There really is. Once you implant it in terms of actual things with the chip, it is good to go. There is nothing to go back and do. The most important thing kind of what you just talked about is, hey, let's, let's update that information and to kind of tag along with that. What we're seeing in a lot of major cities now is animal control officers will have Scanners and if your dog gets out of, your cat gets out and animal control picks it up. Animal control doesn't want to take that dog or cat back to the shelter. They would rather scan that dog right there, pull the microchip information, be able to contact a microchip company and take that dog or cat back to its home and not even take it to the shelter so it's returned to owner in the field is becoming more and more popular. So that is one reason. Yep, when you move, update your address. I think we kind of forget about that. But update your address because if the dogs two blocks down the road, great, here's your dog again. Didn't even have to go to the shelter.

Amy Castro:

Yeah, you know one of the things that when I was in the military you had your address, which is where you were living, but always on your record there was an address and it's not fail-proof but there was an address and I just used my parents address because they weren't moving anytime soon, so at least somebody would be able to be contacted. So for those people who might be listening, like if you're younger or you're on the road, you know I've got a friend whose daughter is a traveling nurse and it's like you know it's kind of hard to put an address and she's not traveling with a pet. But if she was like maybe she had a cat with her or something like that, then give your mom's address because at least your mom will know where to find you, because you do have the ability to list more than one Contact person for that chip. So find somebody permanent and stable in your life to put on that microchip, so they can at least get a hold of you.

Amy Castro:

What about reunion stories? Do you have any happy ending stories? Because somebody had a microchip that you could share with us?

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yeah, I think I mean there there's plenty to pick from. I think I'm gonna go into the two reunion stories, but I think kind of the one holiday I always like to talk about is July 4th. Always make sure your pet is microchipped and Information is up to date, because July 4th is the biggest time of the year when animals go missing. We, when we go to work July 5th in an animal shelter, it's the busiest day of the year. So just kind of keep that in mind in terms of reunification things is that that helps us a lot. But in terms of two stories, in terms of whole McGinn reunification stories, kodak is a great example. So Kodak was under the care of the owner's neighbor and Kodak was like I, I know this house, but I don't know this house, great. And Kodak got out and got loose. And Unfortunately, kodak was gone for for several months and this was during the pandemic and Kodak's owners ended up having to move to California. And you know, oh my gosh, we never found our pet. And now we got a move and what happened eventually is Kodak did end up getting scanned. Somebody called home again and said, hey, we found this dog. They didn't know the name is Kodak, we found this dog and because of that home again Was able to get in touch with the owners of Kodak and get Kodak back with their family in California, with their owners, and obviously that's that's a great story. So we always like to hear stories like that.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

The other thing too, and this other one I think is a really good story because it helps to illustrate I have I have a diabetic cat, so insulin twice a day. Well, this dog is named spooky and spooky got loose and spooky was an epileptic. So on twice daily medications, older dog not really being able to see, well, you know all those things that kind of go on with with dogs and epilepsy. I ended up getting loose, unfortunately, got spooked and got loose and the good thing is is hey it. I think it was about five miles down the road that the dog got picked up by a good severity. They took that spooky into their veterinarian. The vet scanned it, got the microchip number and it was able to get spooky back with his owner Very quickly, which is very important because, especially for our older animals that are on, you know, once daily medications or twice daily medications, that can be really, really important. The very life-saving for spooky that he was able to get back with his owners and be on his epilepsy medication and do just fine.

Amy Castro:

That's great. That's a good story. One of my most interesting experiences was a very senior, very visually impaired poodle that came into animal control and she was mad at and she was a mess and we had a heck of a time sort of tracking back the microchip because of the moves and things like that. But this is in Texas, so we're outside of Houston Texas. The dogs family lived in California and no, no idea, no concept, no clue how the dog went from California to Texas. But it had been several years, like four or five years, that that dog had been missing.

Amy Castro:

You know the unfortunate thing there's. It's well, it was a happy ending because we were able to get a new home for the dog. The unfortunate part was the family. By the time that we had contacted them it was during one of the California wildfires and their house had burned and they were under shelter so they weren't in a position to take her back. So sad ending.

Amy Castro:

But at the same time it was a happy ending for them because it's the unknown, like whatever happened to. You know we called her Veronica, but whatever happened to Veronica, and wondering how she's being treated or whether she's hungry. I mean, that's just. You live with that I still want to know what happened to my cat snippy, that disappeared when I was in kindergarten and I'm 57 years old. It's like, okay, I don't think, I don't dwell on it, but for years it really bugged me, like what happened to snippy, and so it's. They felt so much better knowing that at least she was well, she was being cared for, and you know, we promised to find her and we did find her a wonderful new home.

Amy Castro:

So it can be a, you know, a happy ending story in many different ways, for, for a variety of reasons, one thing I want to stress too, because I don't want people to Discount the value of doing some of the traditional things that you would do to find your pet, microchip or not. Just to kind of stress that. Because number one, like you had mentioned the idea of return in the field, when that Animal control officer can just scan and then take that pet back to your house. And that's so true, I mean it. They don't, they don't want to go through the process of even just the paperwork. And If it doesn't motivate you any other way, if your community's shelter is a kill shelter, if they can return that animal in the field and not have to bring it back to the shelter, then it might save somebody another day of life. Because if there's no space in that shelter, they have to make decisions about where they're gonna put your pet, because they have to hold it for three business days or whatever their rules might be, so to be able to just turn around and go down the block. And that's it's so often it is. It's just down the block around the corner that they find that pet.

Amy Castro:

So you know, a great reason for microchip, but do use the traditional methods of putting posters up to find your pet, because it's too often that it may not make it to Animal control to get scanned and somebody might just find it. And it's shocking to me how many people will find an animal not bothered to try to scan it. They assume it's lost, they assume Nobody's caring for it because it doesn't have a collar and they just keep it or they give it away or something like that. So that happens. And then I think, also making sure your pet does have a collar with identification, because your average neighbor around the block from you doesn't have a microchip scanner. But more than likely, if they find your pet with a collar and a tag, there's a presumption, which is not necessarily a correct one, that if it doesn't have a collar and tag and it looks scruffy, then somebody dumped it and nobody wanted it and it may just be that you're.

Amy Castro:

I mean my dog Gigi, looks scruffy when she goes out and gets Mouthing on by the bulldog slobber and all over her and she comes back looking like or like she needs a bath and a haircut kind of thing, and she just left the house. So people make a lot of Assumptions about animals based on their condition and one of the things is if it doesn't have a collar and tags, you must not want it back Very badly. So definitely do put the collar and the tags on your pets. Yes, they can come off sometimes, but it's worth a try to have that extra level of identification, I think.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Definitely. I definitely agree with that is and unfortunately, to the presumptions that people make. I've seen that happen as well. So I think having those collars, those tags, etc. Really can help. But then also that the microchip is always a good backup plan for sure, definitely.

Amy Castro:

Any other points or anything that we've missed so far, because I think we've covered some good ground and hopefully have convinced people of the value of microchipping their pets, but anything else you'd like to share with us that might help people make that good decision?

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Yeah, I think it's always good to share kind of personal experiences. And, yes, I'm a veterinarian, I'm married to a veterinarian and we've had times where, hey, we had a new cat that I didn't get microchipped and he got out. I'm glad we got him back. It was about five or six days before we got him back. But even veterinarians sometimes we forget to microchip. So I never want people to think, oh my gosh, I'm a bad pet owner because I haven't gotten my pet microchipped.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

But I think if you've listened to this podcast and you've kind of listened to the points, hey, you haven't gotten your pet microchipped, there's no shame in that. Go to your veterinarian, go to, you know, maybe a shelter is doing an outreach event and things like that. There are plenty of shelters that do low cost or free microchips because they want to make sure that your pet gets microchipped, because they don't want your pet to get lost and end up in their shelter, so they're going to do microchipping for you as well. So take advantage of those things because I think it's very, very important. And again, I'm a veterinarian. I'm supposed to be this perfect, you know, when it comes to doing everything perfect for my pets, and even I've forgotten to microchip. So if you've listened to it, now is the time to make that appointment with your veterinarian, or call your local shelter to get your pet microchipped.

Amy Castro:

And to add to that, because you just made me think of one other thing that pet parents want to do is when you do get an animal from a shelter or a rescue and they tell you that the animal is microchipped and they give you the paperwork, either ask them to scan it, you know, can you just scan it for my peace of mind, can you scan it for me so I can see the number to make sure that it?

Amy Castro:

You know, make sure that it actually, because sometimes the documents get separated from the animal and the presumption is it's been done and it hasn't been done. And if you're too uncomfortable to do that, then when you get that first which you should anytime you get a new pet anyway, you get that new, new pet visit to your veterinarian. Have them scan A lot of veterinarians are just kind of doing that automatically at every visit or at first visit but have them scan your pet, have them record the microchip number, write it down for yourself and just confirm that it is registered, that it's registered properly, that it's got your right address, because we're human, so even if somebody is doing their very, very best, yours could be the pet where somebody thought that that one got microchipped and it didn't. Or somebody transposed a number on the microchip number, because those numbers are not short friends, they are long numbers.

Amy Castro:

And so it would be really easy, as somebody is looking at the microchip paper and typing it into a computer, that they make a mistake or they put the wrong zip code or the wrong house number on your house. So please, please, please, do make sure that your pet does have a chip, that it's registered properly, has all the correct information, because it can't save your pet's life If the information is bad. I mean it's only as good as the information that's associated with the chip. So that's so important to note.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Very, very, very important. I agree with everything you said Very important.

Amy Castro:

So, dr Matt, thank you so much for being here with us today. It's so good to have because I feel like I'm preaching all the time and to have, somebody that's not only a veterinarian but an expert, you know, has that extra expert knowledge about the importance of microchips and how they work. I really appreciate you sharing your, your expertise, your experience being being vulnerable. To admit, you've made mistakes as well and have learned from those, like we all have. Thank you so much for being on the show here today. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Matt Goetz:

Thanks for having me. I really, really enjoy it and I wish you the best of luck in terms of everything you do for your, for your community as well.

Amy Castro:

Well, thank you, I appreciate that, and thank you all to everybody who's listening now for listening to another episode of Starlight Pet Talk. You know I feel like I say every single week this is a super important episode. Make sure you share it with everybody. You know and it's not just me trying to get more people to listen to the podcast, although we like that. So please do share the podcast with your friends, but especially with this topic. It is just so important. It can be life saving. It can mean the difference between you seeing your pet again and never seeing your pet again when you just you know, make that effort to get that microchip and make sure that it is properly registered for your pet.

Amy Castro:

So we love our pets, we do anything for them, we spend lots of time and money on them. This is something that's such a small thing that we can do and it makes such a huge difference. So please become a microchip advocate, like I am and like Dr Matt is, and get your friends, family members, to microchip their pets. Thanks for listening to Starlight Pet Talk. Be sure to visit our website at wwwstarlightpettalkcom for more resources and be sure to follow this podcast on your favorite podcast app so you'll never miss a show. If you enjoyed and found value in today's episode, we'd appreciate a rating on Apple. Or if you'd simply tell a friend about the show, that would be great too. Don't forget to tune in next week and every week for a brand new episode of Starlight Pet Talk. And if you don't do anything else this week, give your pets a big hug from us.

The Importance of Microchipping Pets
Choosing a Reputable Microchip Company
Effective Microchipping and Pet Recovery
Importance and Benefits of Microchipping Pets
The Importance of Microchipping Pets