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Email Reminders Increase the Frequency That Pet Owners Update Their Microchip Information

School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
Australian Pet Welfare Foundation, Kenmore, QLD 4069, Australia
Jemora Pty Ltd., Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
Central Animal Records, Keysborough, VIC 3173, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2018, 8(2), 20;
Received: 8 December 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
PDF [1772 KB, uploaded 13 February 2018]
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Simple Summary

Many stray animals presented to shelters in several first world nations have incorrect contact details associated with their microchip and, consequently, cannot be reunited with their owners. This study investigated whether sending email reminders increased the frequency that pet owners updated their contact details on an Australian microchip database, and characterized the cat and dog population on this database. Email reminders were found to be effective at increasing the frequency that pet owners updated their contact details; frequency of updates also varied according to species, pet age, state or territory and socioeconomic differences. The information gained from this study can be used to increase owner compliance in keeping pet microchip contact details up to date, and therefore increase reclaim percentages of stray animals.


Stray animals with incorrect microchip details are less likely to be reclaimed, and unclaimed strays are at increased risk of euthanasia. A retrospective cohort study was performed using 394,747 cats and 904,909 dogs registered with Australia’s largest microchip database to describe animal characteristics, determine whether annual email reminders increased the frequency that owners updated their information, and to compare frequencies of microchip information updates according to pet and owner characteristics. More than twice as many dogs (70%) than cats (30%) were registered on the database; the most numerous pure-breeds were Ragdoll cats and Staffordshire Bull Terrier dogs, and the number of registered animals per capita varied by Australian state or territory. Owners were more likely (p < 0.001) to update their details soon after they were sent a reminder email, compared to immediately before that email, and there were significant (p < 0.001) differences in the frequency of owner updates by state or territory of residence, animal species, animal age, and socioeconomic index of the owner’s postcode. This research demonstrates that email reminders increase the probability of owners updating their details on the microchip database, and this could reduce the percentages of stray animals that are unclaimed and subsequently euthanized. View Full-Text
Keywords: microchip; stray; euthanasia; age; socioeconomic index; breed; cat; dog; Australia; characteristics microchip; stray; euthanasia; age; socioeconomic index; breed; cat; dog; Australia; characteristics

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Goodwin, K.; Rand, J.; Morton, J.; Uthappa, V.; Walduck, R. Email Reminders Increase the Frequency That Pet Owners Update Their Microchip Information. Animals 2018, 8, 20.

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