Pets go missing from home for a whole variety of reasons and stray animals are usually picked up by members of the public, then passed on to the local animal wardens, animal charities or taken to the veterinary surgery if they are injured. If they cannot be identified by means of a microchip or id tag, sadly they may never be reunited with their owners and often end up in rescue centers to be re-homed, or even put to sleep if there is no room for them or they are ill.
Every year in the UK, animal welfare organisations estimate that thousands of pets go missing and that only just over half of these pets are ever reunited with their owners because there is no way of knowing who they belong to.
Dogs Trust reported that the number of stray dogs taken in last year was 56,043! . According to the
Dogs Trust Stray Dog Survey 2018/2019, only 57% of these dogs were reunited with their owners and of these, only 35% were microchipped. Sadly many of the stray dogs were not reunited with their families because they either had no microchip or the contact details for the owner were not up to date so they could not be contacted.
The RSPCA reported figures released in 2017 show that 5,647 cats were taken in by RSPCA centres in England and Wales during 2017 (many more will have been taken in by other rescue centres). However, a staggering 4,896 of these did not have a microchip at all and, of those that did, many had out-of-date contact details, which makes it extremely difficult to reunite pets and owners.
Animal Search UK reports that they have between 20 and 100 missing and found pets registered with them every day!
Some of the most common reasons pets go missing are:
- Hormone related – Male animals wander off after scenting a female in season, or females in season wander off to find a mate
- Fear – Animals may run off after hearing a particularly loud and scary noise, such as fireworks or thunder. Or a stranger in the home may scare them away
- Moving house – Animals may become lost after a house move when they are in unfamiliar territory
- Natural inquisitiveness – You pet may start following a scent or another animal for a while and get lost
- Illness – Poorly animals may become disorientated and get lost easily, others may have had an accident and be unable to get back home before someone picks them up and takes them to the local vet
- Theft – unfortunately people stealing pets is still on the increase especially cute younger animals and in pedigree or working breeds that can be sold on.
Having your pet microchipped is a quick, simple and permanent method of identification. It will give you peace of mind that should you pet go missing, you have a higher chance of being reunited.