Lost and Found: Why Microchipping Pets Matters

A dog with a long leash on the ground

Microchipping is a word many pet owners are familiar with. If you adopted your best fur companion, chances are, they came to you already microchipped. Microchipping is an essential part of pet identification that helps reunite hundreds of thousands of pets each year with their owners.

Since the topic of microchipping is something that comes up often in our practice, the team at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital wants to explain the process and why it matters to you.

What Is a Pet Microchip?

When it comes to microchips, there is much ado about a simple device. Microchips are merely a tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) that rely on a corresponding microchip reader or wand. They are not GPS or other forms of tracking device, so they cannot tell you where your pet is located or give information to anyone else who has a GPS. 

What microchips contain are a distinct number assigned to the individual pet. This number is stored in a database that is managed by microchipping manufacturers. They are not shared, nor is the contact information and address of the owner, unless the rightful owner is contacted by the manufacturer who is then given information as to their pet’s whereabouts. 

How Are Microchips Implanted?

Many pet owners wonder how the microchip is implanted, and whether or not it’s a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia. The great news is that it’s a simple procedure that doesn’t require anesthesia, stitches, or an overnight stay. Here’s how it works:

  • Using a syringe, the chip is implanted just under the skin in between the shoulderblades.
  • It works the same way as your pet’s routine vaccinations, except the microchip is implanted in the location where it will stay permanently – it doesn’t move through the body or out of position.
  • This procedure can be done during an outpatient veterinary appointment by your veterinarian.
  • There are no side-effects and the majority of pets do not have any change to their routine the day of the implantation. 

Is It Painful?

The biggest worry from pet owners is that microchipping is painful. Some pets will feel a slight pull or twinge when the chip is implanted, similar to what they might experience during a routine vaccination. Many pets don’t even seem to notice the procedure.

The Good News About Microchipping Pets

What’s wonderful about this tiny device is that it is a highly effective way to find your pet, should they escape or be stolen. 

The statistics show that microchips are effective:

  • When a missing cat isn’t chipped, their chances of being reunited with their owners is 1% versus more than one-third when they are microchipped. Likewise, over 60% of dogs are reunited when they are microchipped while only 3-4% are without this important device. 

In a dispute with ownership, microchips can be the best way to prove your pet is your own. This is not such an uncommon situation when 2 million pets are stolen each year.

Peace of Mind with Microchipping

Microchipping can give you peace of mind when the unexpected occurs and your pet cannot be found. If you would like more information on this important, effective, and safe procedure, we are happy to discuss it with you. Please contact us or schedule an appointment.