Why Is It Important to Microchip Your Pet? What Owners Need to Know

Most households in the U.S. have at least one pet, and microchipping is becoming an increasingly popular practice to enhance the safety and everyday security of your pet should they ever get lost or stolen. While microchipping has countless benefits, many pet owners don’t quite understand how the process works because it’s relatively new. Here is what every pet owner should know.

Confirming Your Pet’s Identity

As mentioned, getting your pet microchipped helps to confirm their identity and find their way back to you if they ever get lost or stolen. Experts say that the majority of pets that have been microchipped end up being reunited with their owners when lost. On the other hand, pets that are not microchipped have a drastically lower rate of being reunited with their owners. This is true even if the pet has other forms of identity, like tags and a collar. No method of identification is 100% accurate, but microchipping is much more reliable than traditional tags.

Other Forms of Identification

While getting your pet microchipped and keeping an accurate address with the microchip company is essential to your pet’s safety and identification, it shouldn’t be the only measure you take to keep your pet protected. Collars are also helpful in identifying pets without the need for any scanning device. That being said, a collar will never be able to replace the protection and security that a microchip provides. The best solution is to use both a collar and a microchip so that your pet can be identified in as many cases as possible.

How Microchips Are Put In Place

Microchip implantation is a low-risk procedure that can be done on any healthy dog or cat during a routine checkup or wellness appointment.  Veterinarians suggest checkups every six months for older pets, and annually in healthy adult dogs over one year old. As an alternative to implanting the chip during a regularly scheduled visit (using a needle slightly larger than those used for other injections), your veterinarian can also implant the chip while your pet is under anesthesia for another procedure, such as a spay, neuter, or dental cleaning. The bottom line: microchipping is a minimally painful, quick procedure (comparable to a piercing) that can help your pet be exponentially more protected from theft and loss.

According to The Pet Vet’s, Dr. Kaitlin Agel, “once the microchip has been implanted, you will receive information on how to register the microchip.  This will allow you to link your pet to your contact information, as well as add any pertinent details about your pet’s behavior or medical history that someone might need to know if you are unreachable when your pet is first identified. You can also add a secondary contact such as a family member or your primary veterinarian to help get your pet back to you as soon as possible.”

How it works

After your pet is microchipped if your pet is lost, the person who finds them will take them to a veterinary hospital or animal shelter to start the identification process. The facility will perform a scan to determine that the pet is chipped and to obtain the microchip number. The microchip company will be contacted and they will in turn contact you using the phone number you provided when registering your pet’s microchip. The company will then give you information regarding your pet’s whereabouts and instructions on contacting the facility where your pet has been found.

Lifetime of Microchips

Newer microchips are an innovative piece of technology that can last for up to 25 years and can be scanned internationally for identification. Under normal circumstances, the chip will never need replacing, and as mentioned, veterinary facilities and shelters can determine if a pet has one by simply using a handheld scanning device. Microchipping is also very affordable: The Pet Vet charges $30 for microchips and that includes lifetime registration. Remember, it’s your responsibility as a pet owner to do all you can to keep your furry friend safe, and a microchip can go a long way in keeping your pet protected and maximizing their chance of being reunited with you if they ever go missing.

Microchipping for Indoor Cats

Indoor cats can easily escape through an open window or door, and a microchip can help confirm their identity. This is particularly important to note due to the fact that many indoor cats do not wear a collar.

“Even if your cat stays indoors, though, it’s still a good idea to have it microchipped. Indoor cats often get out of the house by mistake…If your cat doesn’t have a lot of experience with the outdoors, it’s unlikely that it will be able to navigate through unfamiliar territory. As a result, many strays in shelters may be indoor cats that got out and couldn’t find their way home,” says Animal Planet.

Natural Disasters and Crisis Situations

During natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes or wildfires, pets often become separated from their owners. This is also common during crisis situations like house fires or car wrecks. In times like these, it is imperative to have an easy way to identify pets. Collars can fall off or break but a microchip is always there. Even if your pet is an indoor pet, you cannot guarantee that circumstances out of your control will not cause you to be separated from them. Microchips are the best way to improve the chances that your pet will be returned to you in these situations.

Ultimately, knowing the facts about microchipping should be enough to convince all pet owners that it’s a great decision for their furry friends’ safety. For more information about veterinary care or to schedule your pet’s microchipping appointment, contact The Pet Vet.