What are Pet Microchips?

Microchips are used as permanent, unalterable forms of identification for both cats and dogs. Using a sterile, pre-loaded syringe, your veterinarian will inject the microchip just beneath the surface of your pet’s skin in between the shoulder blades. The microchip is only about the size of a grain of rice. This procedure does not require any anesthesia and is similar to getting regular shots and vaccinations.

The microchip stores a unique ID number but does not work as a GPS. It will not show you your pet’s location if your pet goes missing. If your pet is found and taken to a shelter or a veterinarian, a scanner will be used between the shoulder blades to see if there is a microchip. The scanner will be able to read your pet’s unique microchip ID number, which the professional can enter into a national pet recovery database. You will need to register your information to your pet’s microchip ID number so that if your pet’s microchip number is entered into the database, your information will be associated with said number.

Microchips are made of biocompatible materials and have no internal power source, so they can last the lifetime of your pet. This also means that you don’t need to get your pet re-microchipped or change any batteries to be sure that the microchip is still working.

While collars and tags are still recommended for both your cats and dogs, they may fall off or become too worn down to read. Since microchips do not degrade, it is the only truly permanent form of identification of your pet. If that is not enough evidence, know that only about 22% of lost dogs that enter animal shelters are reunited with their families, yet over 52% of microchipped dogs are successfully returned to their owners. Lost cats, on the other hand, were only reunited with their owners about 2% of the time. When microchipped, their return-to-owner rate jumped up to 38%.  If these numbers are still not convincing, know that only 58% of microchipped pets had their microchip registered in the recovery database with their owner’s contact information. This means that there were many pets who had microchips, but their parent’s information was not linked to the microchip ID number.

Is your pet microchipped? Let us know in the comments below?