cat

Microchipping: What It Is and Why You Should Do It

Pets are a part of the family. If something were to separate them from you – a door is left open, your dog slips out of its collar, or your cat takes an unapproved field trip without you – you’d want a way to reunite with them as quickly as possible, right? Microchipping is a safe, easy, and inexpensive way to significantly increase the chances of your pet’s reunion should the unthinkable happen.

1 in 3 pets will become lost at some point in their lifetime. Tragically, many of these pets may not ever find their way home without a little help. A microchip can mean the difference between being reunited with your furry friend and never seeing them again. We occasionally see cats brought into our Spay/Neuter clinic for our TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) services that are thought to be stray cats. That doesn’t always end up being the case. Sometimes these “stray” cats are actually missing pets and because of their microchip, we are able to reunite them with their owner, like in Cali’s story. We wouldn’t be able to have these happy reunions without microchips. 

Did You Know? 

Here are some disturbing, but true facts about lost animals:

  • Dogs without microchips are reunited with their owners only 2.2% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs are returned 52.2% of the time.
  • Cats without microchips are reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats make it back home 38.5% of the time.
  • Microchipped pets are over 20 times more likely to be reunited with their families, making microchipping extremely worthwhile.
  • 1 in 3 pets will become lost at some point in their lifetime.

How Microchips Work

A microchip is a tiny electronic chip, about the size of a grain of rice, that is injected under your pet’s skin, typically between the shoulders. The procedure only takes a few seconds. While it’s not entirely painless, it doesn’t hurt any more than getting a vaccine. The microchip is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area. Each microchip has an identification number. When the microchip is scanned by a vet or shelter, it transmits this number. Animal shelters and veterinary clinics scan a pet’s microchip to get this identification number, then contact the registry to find contact information for the owners. The microchip is NOT a GPS device and cannot track your animal if they get lost. 

Importance of Registering Your Information and Keeping It Up to Date

HERE’S THE CATCH – the unique identification number doesn’t do any good UNLESS you register it with a National Pet Recovering Database. When you register your pet’s microchip, you should enter all relevant contact information. Remember to keep your contact information up-to-date! A microchip greatly increases the chances of your pet being reunited with you if they get lost, BUT, only if your information is up to date! Not sure which company to call? Type in your pet’s chip number in microchiplookup.org Can’t find your pet’s chip number? Come by our clinic or any clinic and just ask them to check it for you. As long as you don’t mind waiting a bit, practically every clinic will do this as a free service for you. 

Where to Get Microchips

Planned PEThood offers microchips through our Spay/Neuter Clinic and our Wellness Clinic for only $25 and that includes registration. Most other veterinary clinics offer this service as well, ranging from $25-$75. 

Another great resource to help find your pet is Petco Love Lost. Petco Love Lost helps reunite lost pets with their families. Simply enter a photo of your missing pet and search their national lost and found database to find them. Learn more about Petco Love Lost.

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Mother-Daughter Superstar Fosters Approach 100th Foster Animal

Meet Tiffany and Jeanne, the mother-daughter duo, who have fostered dozens of bottle babies! These two superstar fosters have fostered 89 animals in total. That’s incredible!

Of those 89 animals, they’ve had 2 mama cats, 8 older kittens, and 3 puppies, with the remaining 76 all being bottle babies. In addition to fostering these 89 animals, they constantly help out when other fosters are out of town. That’s a lot of fostering!

Tiffany and Jeanne learned about Planned PEThood of Georgia years ago, when Jeanne, the mom, was driving by and saw an opening sign outside our building. She stopped by to ask if we took volunteers. That’s when it all began.

One February during an extremely prolific kitten season, when Tiffany was volunteering at the front desk, someone dropped off a solo bottle baby at the front door and drove away. Elizabeth, our Executive Director, started calling all of our bottle baby fosters, desperately searching for someone to care for this bottle baby. While Elizabeth was making these calls, another staff member was showing Tiffany how to feed the bottle baby. Her mom walked in and asked, “What’s that?”. Tiffany explained the situation and her mom said, “She’ll take her.”. And so, they brought home their first bottle baby. That’s when their fostering all began. Another litter showed up the next day and their first bottle baby suddenly turned into three.

A few years later, Tiffany and Jeanne switched over to fostering bottle babies full-time. Bottle babies are a tremendous amount of work, but over the years, they have created the perfect system. Jeanne takes the day shifts and Tiffany covers the nights. This way no one loses sleep. They even have their own incubator at their home for the bottle babies.

Natsu, one of their foster fails

Not only have Tiffany and Jeanne helped dozens of animals find their forever home, but they have also adopted several animals of their own. That first kitten they ever fostered was their first foster fail and became a permanent part of their family. These two do more than fostering. Jeanne constantly helps out with our Wednesday shelter days as a part of our Go Fix Georgia program and Tiffany does bottle-feeding demonstrations at various events for Planned PEThood.We asked Tiffany a few questions about her experience fostering with Planned PEThood of Georgia. Below are her answers.

Why do you continue to foster with Planned PEThood? Planned PEThood keeps calling us with kittens!

What is your favorite part about fostering? The reward of seeing a little 80g bean grown into a lively kitten and go to a forever home.

What advice do you have for someone interested in fostering? Think of being a foster like being a Kindergarten teacher. You provide the education and nutrition until they graduate to their new homes. Yes, it is hard to let them go, but there’s a new class waiting for the same opportunity to grow! Every cat that ‘graduates’ means another you can save after that!

What do you get out of fostering with Planned PEThood? I get a lot of purpose out of fostering. I’m disabled so that limits a lot of options in employment. Working with animals gave me something meaningful to do with my time. I got inspired by some of our medical challenges with the little ones to go to Vet Tech school, so I could do better and save more kittens. Turns out that my disability is a barrier there too, but I might be able to be a Vet Assistant. Fostering has also inspired me to look into building my own neonatal nursery. I hope to continue to work through Planned PEThood if that ever comes to fruition. 

Volunteers and foster parents are vital to our success. The animals depend on our efforts to place them on solid ground. If you have even a tiny bit of time to spare, a unique talent or trade to offer, or a spare bathroom/basement to occupy, consider contacting Planned PEThood today. 

Apply to become a volunteer.

Apply to become a foster home.

If you have any questions about fostering, email foster@PEThoodGA.org

If you have any questions about volunteering, email volunteer@PEThoodGA.org

Fostering and volunteering are rewarding experiences. Your life will be filled with more hair, but your heart will be happy!

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Help for 227 Gwinnett County Pets and Their Parents

Planned PEThood’s outreach team, Go Fix Georgia, teamed up with Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement to provide free vet care and supplies to pet owners in need on Saturday, April 15th. In just four hours, 165 dogs and 62 cats received much-needed assistance including 200 FREE rabies vaccines, 214 FREE distemper vaccines thanks to Petco Love, and 152 FREE microchips!

The need for outreach events like this continues to increase unfortunately as the cost of pet food and veterinary care soars. The need was obvious as dozens of people lined up early in the morning hours before the event started. Our team ran ahead of schedule the entire time and was able to help every owner who showed up. 54% of pets had not been spayed or neutered, with most of that percentage never having been to a vet before in their life! We plan to continue working with Gwinnett County and other counties to host outreach events like this in the future. 

There were so many amazing organizations and volunteers that came together to help make this event such a success. Without their support, this would have never been possible. THANK YOU! Our Go Fix Georgia team could not have done it without our event sponsor, Fix Georgia Pets, or without the assistance of Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement.

Event Sponsor:

Fix Georgia Pets

Other Assistance Provided By:

Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement

Petco Love

Atlanta Humane Society

The Original Poop Bags

Department of Agriculture Spay/Neuter Tag

Make sure to check our newsletters and emails for upcoming dates! We are always looking for partner companies or individuals to sponsor outreach events. Please email tweaver@PEThoodGA.org if you or your company might be interested in giving back.

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Learn How to Keep Pets Safe During Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month

March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month.  

The perfect time to learn about the dangers of accidental pet poisonings and how to prevent them. Understanding what potentially harmful poisons exist in your home and yard is the first step to keeping your pet safe. Some common items are very obvious but others might be new to you. Often when pets are accidentally poisoned by something, it’s safe for humans but toxic to pets. 

Below are the most common items that are toxic to pets to help keep your pets safe. Ensuring that your pet doesn’t ingest them will be well worth the time and effort needed to keep them a safe distance away. 

Many foods that are safe for people to eat can be deadly to pets. Keep the following toxic foods away from your furry companions. 

    • Chocolate
    • Xylitol (found in sugar-free products and peanut butter so be sure to check the labels)
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Grapes and raisins
    • Onions
    • Garlic
    • Alcohol
    • Coffee

There are several plants that are especially toxic to pets. These are just a few of the plants. Visit this website to learn more about poisonous plants. 

    • Lilies (especially around Easter)
    • Tulips
    • Daffodils
    • Azaleas 
    • Lily of the Valley
    • Sago’s palm
    • Olender
    • Hyacinths 
    • Rhubarb leaves

Each year, ASPCA receives many calls related to the ingestion of over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, cold medications, and herbal supplements. Never give your pet a medication that is not approved for veterinary use. Keep all medications (both RX and over-the-counter) away at all times and never leave pills lying around in purses and backpacks.

Prescription animal medications are often flavored to increase palatability, so pets may mistake them for treats and eat more than prescribed. Keep all medications out of your pet’s reach. Animals can chew through plastic bottles, so child-proof may not mean pet-proof!

Many household cleaners and other products can be used safely around pets. However, the key to safe use lies in reading and following product directions for proper use and storage. Read labels carefully on items like Bleach, Essential Oils, Insecticides, Detergents, and Paint.

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Poisoning:

Pets who have been poisoned may behave strangely or only exhibit mild symptoms. Signs of poisoning in dogs and cats can range tremendously based on the underlying poison. While this list is not exhaustive or complete, some common signs of poisoning generally include:

    • Vomiting or diarrhea
    • Excessive drooling
    • Inappetance
    • Excessive thirst or urination
    • Weakness or lethargy
    • Pale gums
    • Coughing or vomiting of blood 
    • Nausea
    • Racing heart rate

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these items or any other questionable substance, call ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435, Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661, or your veterinarian for assistance. 

When it comes to poisoning, the sooner you treat your dog and cat, the better the outcome. Pets love to chew on all kinds of things, so please keep any potentially dangerous items and substances out of your pet’s reach. 

Learn more about the warning signs, common dangerous substances, and other resources at: 

    1. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/basics/signs-of-poisoning-in-dogs-and-cats/ https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control 
    2. https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/pet-poison-prevention-infographics-and-resources 

Here are a few emergency vets local to Duluth, GA. It’s a good idea to keep your local emergency vet’s information on your fridge in case an emergency ever arises. 

Sources:

https://www.aaha.org/your-pet/pet-owner-education/ask-aaha/Household-Toxins/
https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-safety-tips/national-poison-prevention-week-march-20-26/

 

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Holiday Miracle: Cali Returns Home Thanks to Microchip

They may be tiny, but the impact of microchipping is great. Whether the reunion comes after days, months, or years of being separated, it means everything to a pet and its family. These reunions are proof of just how important microchipping can be.

Lost Kitty, Zach (rescue employee), Hadyn O’Hara (office manager)

A few weeks ago, a kind lady trapped an outdoor kitty that had shown up recently to bring into Planned PEThood. She was planning to get her fixed through our Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) Program for community cats. While prepping the kitty for her surgery, we found out she was already fixed, PLUS she was microchipped. We immediately knew she was someone’s furry kid.

Thanks to her microchip, we were able to track her chip number to a local rescue group. She had recently been adopted, and they were working to contact her owners. Her name was Cali! They arranged to pick her up at our clinic in hopes of reuniting her with her family.

Thankfully, the the owner was located and they had been searching for Cali for days. The kitty had somehow escaped while the owner was moving. A scary thought for any pet owner. Now she’s reunited with her family, and they are all overwhelmed with joy!

Microchipping is a beautiful thing and stories like this remind us of the importance of making sure your pets are microchipped. Without a microchip, on average, only 2% of cats are returned to their owners. 

Microchips save lives by reuniting lost or displaced pets with their families. Not only is having a microchip important but keeping your registered contact information up-to-date is crucial. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, cats who are microchipped are over 20 times more likely to be reunited with their families.

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