Nearly a third of pets will get lost at some point in their lifetime. Many pet owners these days are making the decision to have their pets microchipped. Microchipping services are available for almost any animal, from cats and dogs, to birds, snakes, and even fish!
How does the pet microchip work?
The “pet microchip,” which is about the size of a grain of rice, is injected by a veterinarian beneath the skin between the shoulder blades in the case of cats and dogs. The procedure is similar to getting a vaccination, and can be done with the animal conscious. When a scanner is run over the site of implantation, a unique identification number will be shown on the scanner. This number is kept in a database along with owner contact information.
What are the advantages of getting my pet microchipped?
• Chip implantation is quick, relatively painless, and easily accomplished at the same time as vaccinations
• Microchip numbers are unique
• Unlike a dog collar and tags, microchips are rarely lost because the chip is permanently implanted underneath the skin
• Most vets, humane societies, and animal shelters now own handheld microchip scanners, which rapidly provide the information that will lead to the quick and safe return of an animal to its owner
• Many breeding and purebred show dogs are required to have permanent identification such as a tattoo or microchip
• It is easier for busy shelters to scan for a microchip than to search a hairy dog for a tattoo
• Prevents unnecessary euthanasia at the shelter because the pet’s owners cannot be located
• Many countries require a pet to be microchipped before travel
What are some disadvantages of getting my pet microchipped?
Disadvantages in microchips are rarely reported. Occasionally microchips can move around the body over time and are not picked up by scanners.
Myth – If my pet goes missing, the microchip will give off a signal that allows me to find its location?
No, microchips cannot be used to find a missing pet’s location. The only way a missing pet can be recovered is if it turned into a facility with a scanner (e.g. vet’s office, shelter) that can retrieve its unique identification number and thus obtain the owner’s contact information.