Pet Microchips: Safety & Reuniting

Microchips can be a confusing topic for many pet owners. As pet owners, you may have many questions that need answering. Some common areas of concern are: Do they track my pet's whereabouts? Is my personal information safe? How do they work to reunite my pet with me? And are they costly?

What is a microchip?

It is a tiny electronic device about the size of a grain of rice. It is typically implanted under the skin, between the shoulder blades. The microchip emits a radio wave with a unique identification number assigned only to your pet. This ID number is registered in a database with your contact information. If your pet goes missing, the microchip can make a reunion more likely. Most veterinary hospitals and SPCA can scan a pet brought in by a good samaritan or picked up by animal control or the SPCA. Microchips are an excellent complement to an ID tag on a collar. However, a microchip is a permanent form of identification, whereas a collar can be removed or lost.

Microchips are safe

They will not cause allergic reactions, and do not interfere with your pet's health. Complications such as infection are rare. A microchip can be implanted in the veterinary hospital during an office visit. In most cases, the pet tolerates the implant and a routine vaccination. You will be instructed to keep your pet calm for 24 hours after implantation, as too much activity could cause the chip to migrate from its location. Your veterinary hospital can also register the microchip into the database. You will receive information on your pet's specific ID number. If you have a change in address or telephone number, you can update that information in the registry. Keeping this information up to date is crucial to a happy reunion.

Microchips are not GPS devices; they are for identification only. The cost of the microchip, the implantation service, and registration can vary, but typically, a pet owner can expect $40 -$75.

What should I do if my pet is lost?

If your pet is lost, immediately notify your microchip registration company. The company can often assist in alerting local shelters and veterinary hospitals. When your lost pet is found and scanned for a microchip, the company will contact you using the information in their database. Therefore, a happy reunion is more likely if your information is current.