Companion Animal

Should You Microchip Your Pet?

Apr 6 • 2 minute read

If your pets are family, you do your best to keep them happy, healthy, and safe. Microchipping is a safe and effective way to help protect your pet. If your pet gets lost, it can lose its tags or slip out of its collar; if your pet is stolen, the thief might remove the collar and tags. With a microchip, the people who find your pet can find you!

What Is a Microchip?

A microchip is a small electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder about the size of a grain of rice. The chip is activated when a scanner is passed over the area where it is inserted. The chip transmits your pet’s identification number to the scanner screen. That number corresponds to a database containing your name and contact information.

The microchips currently in use only contain an ID number. While the current chip technology does not include your pet’s medical records, some registration databases allow you to store that information for quick reference.

Microchipping is a one-time procedure that provides lifelong protection for your pet. It is a relatively painless process. Your veterinarian uses a sterile, pre-loaded hypodermic needle to insert the chip under the skin. No surgery or anesthesia is needed. Your pet can be chipped during a routine veterinary office visit.

What Animals Can Be Microchipped?

Dogs and cats should be microchipped, whether they are indoor or outdoor pets. In some municipalities,  microchipping your pet is mandatory. In fact, if your pet is a shelter rescue, they most likely are already chipped. You can also choose to microchip other pets, including rabbits, ferrets, horses, and even parrots, to name just a few.

Dogs and cats are the most common pets to be chipped. Ask your veterinarian about chipping any other pets you might have.

The Benefits of Microchipping Your Pet

Pet microchips offer several benefits. If you and your pet become separated, you have a better chance of being reunited if your pet is microchipped. Microchips offer:

  • Permanent Identification: If your pet wanders off, the chip can be scanned, and you can be reunited.
  • Connect with Your Pet After a Disaster: Severe weather events can occur with minimal warning. Microchipping your pet can help you reconnect with your beloved pet after a natural disaster.
  • Medical Issues: if your pet suffers from a medical condition needing medication, it is even more crucial that you are quickly reunited in the event of separation. A microchip can help you get back together more quickly.

Once you microchip your pet, it’s important to update your information when you move or change your phone number. If you can’t remember where your pet is registered, enter the microchip number into the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup. This database can direct you to the correct registry or chip manufacturer, where you can update your information.

The Bottom Line

Overall, microchipping your pet is a great way to provide extra protection if they ever get lost. However, the decision to microchip ultimately depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. Discuss the pros and cons with your veterinarian to decide whether microchipping is right for your pet.

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