When animals come into an emergency facility with severe injuries, staff members make quick decisions that may quite literally mean life or death for those pets. High treatment costs, risks associated with performing surgery without an owner’s consent, and the desire to minimize an animal’s suffering can cause animal professionals to euthanize pets when their owners cannot be reached immediately. Even when owner contact information is up-to-date in a microchip registry, the delay between an injured pet arriving and that owner actually making contact can spell disaster.
Your pet deserves better! Fortunately, there is a quick step you can take right now to give your pets the care they deserve. Simply adding notes in your pets’ microchip registrations will give animal professionals the information they need to act with your best interests at heart.
Most microchip registries will allow a space for notes (in the Found Animals Registry, a link to the notes field will be available right under your pet’s icon in “My Pets”). This space may be labeled as “Medical Notes” or “Physical Description” in your pet’s listing, but really, if it’s an open field, you can put whatever you like. If, for example, you note your pet insurance policy number with such-and-such insurance company, the vet can verify or at least make an educated guess as to what is covered. You can also say straight out, “I authorize immediate treatment up to $X if my pet is sick or injured.” It’s not guaranteed that the vet will proceed as you have suggested, but for the professional who is truly on the fence, knowing the owner has thought through the potential costs may help decide if, and how, to proceed.
Even for standard “lost and found” cases where pets are in fine health, medical and behavioral notes give animal professionals valuable insights into your pet’s needs. Does Fido experience dog allergies to fleas, food or medicines? Is Fluffy prone to feline aggression or other behavioral quirks? No one knows your pets as well as you do. Share your expertise with the people who will be caring for them! (My little bundle of joy regurgitates in excitement after he eats wet food… it seems silly, but that’s valuable pet food wasted. Stick with kibble for the Beanster.)
Not sure what to include? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Notes for Pet Registrations
- Detailed physical description of pet
- Contact info for pet’s usual vet, daycare, and emergency contact
- Current diet (Which food brand? How much at once?)
- Current medications with their dosages and any prescription info
- Date of last vaccines
- Pet insurance and/or medical budget
- Behavioral notes, including reactions to people and other animals
- Unexpected fears (beware of men in blue hats!)
- Municipal license number
…plus anything else you would want your pet’s caretaker to know. You never know what might come in handy.
Hopefully your pet will never end up in an animal shelter or emergency clinic to begin with, but pet loss can happen to anyone. The best thing you can do for your pets is to prepare for the anything. While we’re on the topic, have you reviewed your pet emergency preparedness plan lately? If nothing else, it’s a good excuse to buy some fun new toys and treats.
What else do you want vets and shelters to know about your pet? Share tips and tricks below.