What is a Pet Microchip?
A pet microchip is a small computer-chip device - about the size of a rice grain - that is implanted for easy identification in the case your animal is lost or stolen. These chips are programmed with identification numbers
and have an identifying circuit that is injected under the skin of your animal. This chip works through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which is also commonly called a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag.
Note that these chips are not Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking devices. Therefore, they do not need batteries to operate and are more durable. Prior to the implant process, the microchip is sterilized thoroughly and then
is injected under the loose skin of the animal near the shoulder blades. The procedure only takes a few seconds, and it doesn’t hurt your little one.
The process is similar to your dog or cat receiving a routine vaccination shot. After it is injected, the chip must be registered or it’ll be practically useless in the case your animal goes missing.
Pet microchips carry a unique ID number. No two animals carry the same ID number. It’s somewhat comparable to providing your animal with its very own social security number. The main reason why many owners opt to have their little ones microchipped
is because, in the case the animal is lost or stolen,
it makes the recovery process much safer and easier. Animal microchips are frequently used by breeders, boarding kennels, trainers, rescue groups, shelters, clinics, humane societies, animals clubs, stables, and pet stores.
How Long Does a Microchip Last?
Once a microchip is implanted, it should last a lifetime. It is designed to stay with your pet forever. It’s important to note that unless your microchipped canine or feline is registered on a reliable database, the chip is rendered useless.
Once registration is completed, the only thing left for you to do is to make sure that your contact information is updated. If you have any changes to your contact info, it’s necessary to update the registry with the modifications. A properly
implanted microchip should come with a lifetime guarantee, meaning, it should last as long as your critter lives or it’ll be replaced at no cost to you. On very rare occasions however, the microchip may get dislodged. In order to be alerted if this
happens, a regular - probably yearly - scanning is highly recommended.
You can ask your veterinarian to scan your dog or cat when you bring them in for their annual medical checkups. It is very important to ensure that the microchip is in the proper location and is functioning properly.
How Much Does It Cost to Microchip My Animal?
The cost of microchipping your animal (dog or cat…there’s usually no difference in price) is usually from $15 to $50 depending on where you get it chipped. There are veterinarians that offer discounts though. If you are going to have your loved one microchipped
at the same time as when it is being spayed or neutered, you can often ask your vet for a lower price. Also, you can usually get discounts if your animal is undergoing a routine checkup.
For additional discounts on the microchipping procedure, you may want to check with your local humane organization. These organizations often house microchip clinics. Usually such clinics only charge between $10 to $15 for the chipping procedure.
How Does Pet Microchipping Work?
Microchipping your pet will not just identify it for life, but it may also save its life. Using a scanner, the unique ID number will be revealed (as long as you’ve registered the chip), regardless of whether or not your animal has a tag on its collar. Virtually all
animal shelters and veterinary clinics scan all found animals. Once the dog or cat is scanned, if the animal has been chipped, the unique ID will show up and the person operating the scanner will be able to contact the owner.
If your pet does not have a microchip implant or collar ID, it would be close to impossible to recover them, as the finder has no way of knowing who the animal belongs to. Anyone with a scanner can get access to their unique ID number, and is able to link that with your contact information.
However, there’s no need to worry about your personal privacy, as only the chip registry service provider database will have your contact details. Your contact information is not shown to the person operating the scanner.
Here is an outline of the microchipping process:
- A chip is implanted in your animal, usually at a veterinary clinic or hospital.
- The newly placed chip is registered. It’s extremely important to have the chip registered through a reputable pet microchip registry. Without doing so, the chip may be useless in the case your animal goes missing.
- If your dog or cat is lost or stolen, and is found by a shelter or brought to a veterinarian, the pet would be scanned. As you’ve chipped your animal, the Radio Frequency (RF) signals the info and the unique ID code is read to the scanner.
- Using the information you have provided when you registered your pet's microchip, the service provider will get in touch with you to alert you that your loved one has been found so you can tack it down. This info is private so
you don’t have to worry about your personal information being discovered. The microchip registrar ensures this.
- Last, is really important to ensure that your contact information in the registry’s database is current and up-to-date. If you’ve made changes, get ahold of your registrar and have them update the database.
The main function of the microchip is to cache a unique ID number to your pet. This number is used to get the information of the owner of the lost dog or cat (as long as it has been registered). Note that the chip is not a GPS unit. Due to this,
it does not need a power source like a GPS device does, so you don’t need to worry about replacing or charging the batteries. The chip will stay stable and will last the entire lifetime of the critter.
Why Do You Have to Register the Microchip?
The embedded microchip possesses a unique identifying number. For your pet’s security, your contact information will be connected to that identifier through a secure registry database. Without registering your animal’s microchip, your information is never tied to the chip’s unique ID.
If your lost pet is found, the recovering organization (usually a shelter or veterinary clinic) will scan it with a universal scanner. If your dog or cat has been chipped, the scanner will be able to uncover your contact info owner using the registered unique code.
This info is kept private through the registry. Registering the micro chip will allow you to be informed as to the location of your animal so that you can be reunited in a timely manner.
If the microchip hasn’t been registered, you won’t be able to be alerted as to where your lost animal is located.
Does Microchipping Work for all Dog and Cat Breeds? What about Other Animal Types?
Microchipping works for all dog and cat breeds. In fact, it works just as well for other animal types including:
horses, rabbits, snakes, turtles, alligators, goats, deer, sheep, alpacas, llamas, miniature pigs, penguins, ferrets, lizards, mice, chimpanzees, and even elephants and whales.
That being said, dogs and cats are by far the most common types on animals that are microchipped.