Over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. One in three pets will become lost at some point during their life. Microchipping your pet makes it much more likely that if your pet gets lost, it is more likely to be returned to you.
What are Microchips?
A microchip is a small electronic chip about the same size as a grain of rice. The microchip itself does not have a battery—you activate it by passing a scanner over the area, and the radio waves put out by the scanner activate the chip. The chip transmits the identification number to the scanner, displaying the number on the screen.
When your pet first gets a microchip, you will register its unique number in a microchip registry and fill out all your contact information.
How Microchipping Helps
A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association which included 53 animal shelters across the U.S. confirmed the high rate of return of microchipped dogs and cats to their families, and the importance of microchip registration.
If your pet gets lost, they will most likely end up in an animal shelter or veterinary clinic. One of the first things that a shelter or clinic will do is check for a microchip. If they have one, and you correctly linked your information to it, they will call you and reunite you with your loved one.
Even if your pet has a collar and ID tag, these can come off and no one will be able to identify who the owner of the pet is. A microchip is a much surer way to reunite you with your pet. Both microchip and ID tag together further increases the odds you will be able to find your lost pet.
What Microchips Are Not
No matter how great microchips are in how they can assist you in getting your lost pet returned to you, it’s still important to know that they do not handle everything.
Microchips are not GPS devices. They will not show you your pet’s location. They only give your contact information when scanned using an appropriate instrument in a shelter or clinic.
You should also always ensure your pet has a regular collar with up-to-date information on it. A microchip is great if someone can scan it. A collar is great if your neighbor finds your furry friend down the street.
A microchip is injected under the skin using a hypodermic needle. It is no more painful than a typical injection. We can implant a microchip during a routine veterinary office visit without needing surgery or any anesthesia.
If your pet is already under anesthesia for a procedure, such as neutering or spaying, we can implant the microchip while they are still under the anesthesia.
Can a Microchip Harm My Pet?
In short, no. There have been over 4 million microchip procedures done and less than 400 recorded adverse reactions. Most of those adverse reactions were the microchip shifting to a different part of the body from where it was implanted. Out of those 400 adverse reactions, there were a few cases of infection, hair loss, and swelling. The benefits of having your pet microchipped far outweigh the slight chance of any negative reaction.
At Amigo Animal Clinic, we care greatly about every pet we treat. The last thing we want is to have a beloved pet brought in that we cannot reunite with their family. That’s why we recommend that you contact us and schedule to microchip your pet if they aren’t already.
Dr. Dominic Carrica DVM
Amigo Animal Clinic
Grand Junction, Colorado
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