Pet Microchipping

The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

Millions of pets get lost and end up in shelters every year. They can easily get separated from their collars and tags, and sadly, few of these missing pets are reunited with their owners. Many are adopted out to new homes or even euthanized.

Your pet is a member of your family, someone you love and cherish and want to be around for years to come. If you’re like most pet parents, you will do anything to ensure your pet is found and returned home should they ever go missing. Having a microchip implanted is one way to increase the odds of being reunited with your pet.

Collars and tags can be helpful, but there’s always the chance they could fall off. Microchips however are placed just under your pet’s skin, so they’re a more reliable and permanent form of ID. If your pet’s collar comes off, a microchip is the perfect backup option for reuniting you and your pet. Microchip implantation is quick, simple, and inexpensive.

What is a microchip?

No bigger than a grain of rice, a pet microchip is a battery-free, radio-frequency identification (RFID) implant that provides a permanent ID for your pet. It is not a global positioning device (GPS). A handheld scanner reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays the chip number. Animal shelters or vet clinics that scan your pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number.

How is a microchip implanted into an animal and is it painful?

The microchip is implanted between the animal’s shoulder blades just under the skin with a needle and special syringe. The process is similar to getting a shot (except with a larger needle). In most cases, your pet will experience little to no pain from the implantation of the chip; many pets barely notice it.

Despite the larger needle, most pets react the same as they would to a routine vaccination. If you are concerned your pet might object to the size of the needle, you can have your pet microchipped during anesthesia while being spayed or neutered. If your dog is already fixed, you can have it placed during a professional dental cleaning, a procedure that usually requires anesthesia.

Once in place, the microchip can be detected immediately with a handheld device that uses radio waves to read the chip. This device scans the microchip and then displays a unique alphanumeric code. After the microchip is placed, the pet must be registered with a microchipping company, often for a one-time fee.

Whether you have your pet microchipped or not, it is important that they have identification at all times. A collar with tags is the usual standard, but either can fall off or become damaged. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to equip your pet with a microchip for permanent identification.