Should You Microchip Your Pet?

Your pet is a member of your family, someone you cherish and want with you for years to come. If you’re like most pet owners, you’d do anything to ensure your pet is found and returned home safe and sound. One way to increase the odds you’re reunited with your pet is to get them microchipped.

According to the American Humane Association (AHA), more than 10 million pets are lost or stolen in the US every year. The Journal of the American Veterinary Association (JAVMA) stated 52% of microchipped dogs and 38% of microchipped cats found their ways back home. 

Are you concerned that the implantation procedure is painful or think it will compromise your privacy?  Here are the answers to the 9 most common questions pet owners have about microchipping from the American Veterinary Medical Association:

1. What Is a Microchip?

About the size of a grain of rice, a microchip is an electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder. It does not contain a battery—the microchip can only be activated when a special scanner is passed over the implantation area.  The chip transmits your pet’s identification number, which displays on a screen. If you’ve registered your pet’s ID number and your contact information with a national database, you can be contacted and your pet can be returned to you.  

2. Is the Implantation Procedure Painful?

The microchip is implanted using a hypodermic needle, so it doesn’t hurt any more than a typical shot. Your dog or cat does not need to be anesthetized—however, many vets will recommend that the implantation take place at the same time your pet is spayed or neutered, at which time he’ll already be under anesthesia. 

3. How Much Does It Cost?

The microchip is a one-time fee which often includes the cost for registration in a pet recovery database. On average, the cost to have your veterinarian implant a microchip is $45-50 (sometimes a little more). A good vet will take the extra step and send your registration in for you to make sure it gets done!

4. Is the Microchip a Tracking Device?

This is one of the most common misconceptions about microchips—it doesn’t contain a GPS and isn’t a tracking device. It’s simply an electronic repository of key information needed to reunite you with your pet. Microchips don’t typically contain information about your pet’s medical history or vaccinations. 

“52% of microchipped dogs and 38% of microchipped cats found their ways back home.” 

5. Does the Microchip Take the Place of ID and Rabies Tags?

A microchip is not a replacement for a collar with an ID tag and up-to-date shot information. Those need to be in place in addition to having your pet microchipped. The microchip provides additional protection. For example, a collar can come loose and fall off—in that event, a chip will help a clinic or shelter identify your pet. 

6. Should I Worry about My Privacy?

The simple answer is “no.”  The only information contained in the microchip is the information you provide at the time you register or update the chip.

7. Does a Microchip Really Increase the Odds I’ll Find My Lost Pet?

The answer is “yes.” Although a microchip isn’t a guarantee you’ll be reunited with your lost cat or dog, it greatly increases the odds, as noted in the JAVMA study referenced above. In order for the process to work, two things need to happed: (1) your lost pet must find its way to a shelter or veterinary clinic, where it can be scanned; and (2) the microchip must be registered. Approximately 58% of chips are registered—if you want your pet’s chip to work, you need to register it.

8. Where Can I Go to Have My Pet Microchipped?

You should go to your family veterinarian. Your vet will have microchips on hand and can implant the device the same day as your appointment—again, you dog or cat does not need to undergo surgery or be anesthetized for the implantation procedure. 

9. Do I Need to Do Anything after the Chip Is Implanted?

Yes, you need to register it—your vet will tell you how to do this. You also need to update your contact information whenever it changes—for example, if you move or change your phone number. In most cases your pet’s microchip will last for the rest of his life. 

The implantation procedure is inexpensive, fast, safe, and painless. Call us today to schedule an appointment to get your pet microchipped and receive 10% off during the month of May!