Microchip Your Pet: Your Questions Answered

Happy National Microchip Month! Losing a pet happens so quickly. Before we blink from one slide to the next, our dog or cat could have run after a squirrel, or a chipmunk, and we would have no idea where they disappeared to. Of course, the microchip isn’t a GPS system. But, the grain-of-rice size technology can help our pets find their way back to us.

In honor of National Microchip Month, we have developed a list of frequently asked questions.

Is the Procedure Painful?

One of the biggest worries pet parents have about the microchip is the pain our dog or cat feels while it’s being inserted. The implantation isn’t overly comfortable, but it’s not necessarily painful either. Think of the procedure just like getting a shot. When you get a vaccine, it’s not particularly enjoyable, but it’s not a painful experience.

If your dog or cat is a puppy and hasn’t went in to be neutered or spayed yet, this is the absolute best time to get the microchip inserted. Your pet has no idea it’s even being inserted. And although the insertion isn’t painful, doing it this way can take two items off your to-do list at the same time.

Does Microchipping Require Anesthesia?

No, when your pet has a microchip inserted, no anesthetic is necessary. As stated, it’s very similar to getting a shot. The microchip can be implanted during a routine vet visit. The only reason having microchipping done when a pet is being neutered/spayed is just to have all our bases covered (and be able to take 2 to-dos’ off of our list for our pet).

How Does it Stay Charged?

This is an excellent question; how does it stay charged? The microchip does not contain a battery or power source of any kind. Once the microchip has been inserted, it should work for your pet’s entire life. The chip is encased in plastic and high-quality steel (remember, only the size of a grain of rice) and nothing on the chip can be worn out. In the worst-case scenario, the microchip may move a little bit (but not much).

How are Microchips Activated?

After the microchip has been inserted, they do require activation in order to be traced back to you. Activation can be completed online at www.petkey.org, or by calling 866-973-8539.

How Do You Find the Information?

Petkey’s microchips can be read by any ISO-compatible Microchip Scanner. Most veterinary offices, humane societies, and pet professionals have a Microchip Scanner. The microchip is scanned and provides a unique identification number. Once the identification number has been written down, you’re able to search for the microchip and find the details of the pet parent.

Can Ownership of the Microchip be Transferred?

Yes, if you have recently adopted a dog or cat who has a microchip, you can transfer the ownership by contacting us at 1-866-699-3463.

How Much Do Microchips Cost?

The cost of microchipping ranges but generally costs between $40.00 and $70.00 at your veterinary clinic. If you’re doing a combination spay/neuter, there may be a discount available (some veterinarians offer this-be sure to ask). The Humane Society also sometimes have microchip clinics scheduled.

After the initial fee, PetKey offers affordable yearly or lifetime registration packages as low as $17.99. The registrations for multiple pet households can be discounted by our registration consultants via phone. We offer military discounts, as well as discounts for pets who have been adopted then spayed/neutered. To learn more about our programs, please call 866-699-3463.

I’m Worried About My Privacy…?

There’s no reason to worry about your privacy. The information you provide to the database is the only information someone can use to contact you. You don’t have to provide information you don’t feel comfortable disclosing. There are also protections in place so not ‘just anyone’ can look up your information.

Does the Microchip Replace the Identification Tags?

No, the microchip should not replace your pet’s identification tags. The identification tags and the microchip together are the best method to use when protecting your pet. Identification tags are visible to all and should be left on. The microchip is like a back-up plan. If your dog or cat were to become lost, the first place a rescuer will look is on the collar for the ID tags. If there aren’t any ID tags, plan B is necessary (the microchip).

Can I Implant the Microchip Myself?

No, although the procedure appears to be relatively simple, it’s important the microchip is implanted properly. Placing the needle too deep, or in the wrong location, can make it difficult to read in the future and could cause damage to your pet’s body. That’s why it’s so important to have a professional perform the procedure.

Is Maintenance Necessary?

Yes, there is a low amount of maintenance from you, the pet parent. And, it really has nothing to do with the actual microchip. Once the microchip is implanted, it’s done. You no longer must worry about the microchip in your pet’s body. But, ensuring all your information remains up-to-date is a necessity. You should also ask your veterinarian to scan the microchip each year at your annual visit to make sure it’s still functioning. Although they are expected to last for life, we just want to make certain. Better safe than sorry, right?

If You Have Other Questions

If you have any other questions, please visit petkey.org, call us at 866-699-3463, or e-mail at info@petkey.org. We’re looking forward to talking with you.