There have always been a lot of decisions to make when adopting an animal, but these days, with the advancement of technology, there are even more. One of the most important questions to ask yourself is – should I microchip my pet? Below, you’ll learn what microchips are, how they work, reasons why microchipping your pets is a good idea, and an explanation of how they are inserted.
What are microchips?
A microchip is a radio-frequency identification (RFID) transponder that stores a unique ID number that can be used to retrieve contact information for a lost pet’s owners. It does NOT have GPS capabilities and cannot be used to locate your pet. The unique ID number can only be accessed if someone brings your pet to a place that can read the radio frequency.
How do microchips work?
If your pet becomes lost and is found by a kind stranger, they can take your furry friend to someone with a microchip scanner, like an animal shelter or veterinarian. When the microchip scanner passes over the microchip, it emits a radio frequency signal which reveals the unique ID number. Then, they can call microchip registries and give them the ID number, which will be used to access your contact info. Microchips should last for the lifespan of your pet, but you’ll need to keep the registration updated, if you change your phone number or address.
How are microchips inserted?
Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are usually inserted by a veterinarian, but animal shelters and rescues often offer the service, as well as some pet stores. They’re inserted via an injection, much like vaccinations. For dogs and cats, they’re inserted under the skin, between the shoulder blades. Horses and birds are sometimes microchipped as well, but these microchips are placed along the left side of their neck (horses) or in their chest (birds). There is little to no pain and the area is often numbed first with another injection. Make sure to limit their activities for around 24 hours following the injection. And don’t forget to complete (and maintain current information relating to) your microchip registration to one of the national pet recovery databases!
Remember, if your pet has had previous owners, check to make sure they don’t already have a microchip.
Why should I microchip my pet?
There are many reasons why you should microchip your pet:
- If lost, your pet could lose their collar and tags, or the tags could become unreadable, leaving no way for a good Samaritan to help them find their way home.
- If stolen, the thief could remove their collar and tags, thus making it difficult for you to be reunited.
- In either of these cases, a microchip gives you a way to confirm that an animal is yours.
- It helps reduce the number of strays by enabling lost or stolen pets to be found and brought home.
- It helps reduce overcrowding at shelters and thus potentially reduces the need for euthanasia.
- The cost is reasonable, a one-time fee of approximately $45.
As you can see, there are multiple pros to microchipping your pet and no obvious cons. A microchip is easy (and relatively painless) to insert, low cost, and requires minimal maintenance. This makes it an ideal way to give yourself some peace of mind when it comes to your pet’s safety. With very little investment (of time or money), you can increase the likelihood that you and your beloved animal will spend many happy years together.
This content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual medical providers with respect to any information presented. Pets Best and any of its affiliates, including CareCredit, (collectively, “Synchrony”) make no representations or warranties regarding this content and accept no liability for any loss or harm arising from the use of the information provided. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.