It's hard to lose your friend: The Importance of Pet Microchipping

Microchipping has multiple benefits. Millions of pets get lost and end up in shelters every year, but a microchipped dog can easily be reunited with owners.

Whether your dog is microchipped or not, it is important that your pet has identification at all times. A collar with tags is the standard, but it can fall off or become damaged. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to equip your pet with a microchip for a permanent form of identification.

Becoming separated from our furry family members is something no pet parent wants to think about, but despite our best efforts, accidents can and do happen. Fortunately, there are now more ways to find a lost pet than endlessly searching local shelters and posting “lost pet” signs. Pet microchipping can significantly increase the odds of locating a lost or stolen pet, and we couldn’t be more excited to share the details of this popular technology.

What Is a Microchip? A microchip is essentially a tiny, inert computer chip encased in glass. The chip, about the size of a grain of rice, is injected just under your pet’s skin near the shoulder blade via hypodermic needle. The procedure only takes a few moments and is no more painful than a standard vaccination. If you are concerned your pet might object to the size of the needle, you can have your pet microchipped during anesthesia while being spayed or neutered. 

How Does It Work? Each microchip is programmed with a unique numeric code, which can be read by a microchip scanner in the event your pet winds up at a shelter or veterinary hospital. Once scanned, the 15-digit code will appear on the scanner screen. This code is then entered into a database by the hospital or shelter worker, who will then provide the number to the microchip company.

Once your contact information has been retrieved from the database, the microchip company will contact you to let you know that your pet has been found and where you can pick them up. This keeps your contact information private, while still allowing you to be reunited with your pet.

Is It Safe? Pet microchipping is an extremely safe method of locating a lost pet! Microchips are:

Secure – Microchips are not tracking devices, and do not utilize GPS technology. Your pet’s whereabouts (and yours) cannot be tracked.

Nontoxic – Microchips are encapsulated in biocompatible glass that won’t cause an allergic reaction, nor will they corrode, degrade, or interact with the tissue in any way.

Stable – Your pet’s microchip has no internal power source and is completely inert until scanned. The information stored on the chip is transmitted via safe radio waves, and no radiation or damaging energy is emitted.

Better Safe Than Sorry Whether you’ve adopted a pet who has already been microchipped, or you are having the procedure done after adoption, having a registered microchip and correct contact information is essential. Registering your pet’s microchip number and updating your contact information each time you move or change phone numbers can easily be done on the microchip company’s website, or by filling out the paperwork that came with the chip and mailing it in.