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.

Spaying/Neutering Your Cat? Don’t Fall For These Common Myths

Most households in the U.S. have at least one pet, and as a pet owner, you have to be responsible when it comes to keeping your furry friend healthy. Cats, especially, can suffer when it comes to having their needs recognized. As more independent animals, many cat owners believe they don’t need to intervene in their health as often. From good dental hygiene to keeping those claws trimmed, cats still need to be looked after. Many people believe that spaying and neutering is something that doesn’t affect their cat’s health; however, this isn’t the case. Here are a few more common myths about spaying and neutering your cat that you just shouldn’t believe.

Myth #1: All veterinary clinics will spay or neuter my pet in the same way.

Even though cats and dogs can get pregnant once they’re five months old, you can’t just walk into any vet clinic and expect them to be able to perform a spaying or neutering procedure. This procedure should only be performed at a clinic fully equipped for surgery, so take your time in researching instead of picking among cheap vets. Additionally, some low-cost places will do a spay for extra cheap, but most of them are not doing any blood work on your pet, and there are often questionable or unmonitored anesthesia protocols. At The Pet Vet, no animal undergoes any anesthetic procedure without full blood work assessing many parameters including liver and kidney function, white blood cell counts and ensuring there is no anemia or hidden infection present before surgery. It is definitely worth paying a little extra for the safety of your beloved pet.

“Both neutering and spaying … must be performed only by a licensed veterinarian. Most cats are able to resume their normal activities within a few days, and the stitches are removed after about two weeks,” writes The Purrington Post.

Myth #2: Spaying or neutering won’t change my pet’s demeanor or personality.

Both kittens and puppies can be spayed or neutered when they reach six months old, and the procedure typically does change their behavior — but not for the worse. Most of the time, spaying or neutering will make your cat calmer and more affectionate. Female cats will no longer have heat cycles every three weeks during their breeding season. Male cats, who are prone to aggression and marking their territory, typically become calmer and less territorial after neutering.

Is your cat aggressive towards other cats? After a spaying or neutering procedure, this will likely change also, fortunately for the better. In fact, cats are typically more friendly to other cats after the procedure.

Myth #3: The procedure is traumatizing for cats.

This myth could not be less true — spaying and neutering are both low-risk procedures, and there are no known negative psychological effects on male or female cats! Most animal doctors agree that it’s in your pet’s best interest. Not only does it prevent unwanted litters, but it can also help reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer and infections. Plus, if your cat roams outside, you won’t need to worry about contributing to overpopulation in your neighborhood. Countless stray cats suffer on the streets or are euthanized as a result of overpopulation. Spaying or neutering one cat could save so many others!

Myth #4: The procedure is expensive.

This is another common misconception — in most cases, the spaying and neutering processes are very affordable. The only exception would be if you have a cat that needs special treatment during the process due to other conditions. The spaying and neutering processes are important to the overall health of your cat, so the majority of animal doctors aim to make the procedure as affordable as possible. That being said, if you’re on a strict budget and are worried about having trouble financing the procedure, don’t panic. You may be able to find payment plans or finance the procedure. It may even be covered by your pet insurance. The bottom line: don’t let perceived costs deter you from making the right decision for your pet’s health.

Myth #5: My pet stays indoors, so they don’t need to be spayed/neutered.

This major misconception can actually cause health issues for pets with owners who don’t know the facts. Getting your pet spayed or neutered doesn’t just prevent accidental litters: as mentioned above, spaying and neutering present a multitude of health benefits for your cat. In female cats, there is a lower risk of mammary cancer, uterine cancer, and infections. In male cats, neutering effectively eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and prevents spraying behaviors that can cause problems in the household.

Furthermore, the aggression issues that lead to fights and injuries? They’re not limited to outdoor cats. If you have more than one cat living in the same household,  there can be an increased risk of physical injury for all cats involved even with only one unaltered cat present. Spaying and neutering can help ease these aggressive behaviors and ultimately protect your cats from some real physical harm.

Understanding the facts about spaying and neutering procedures can help you make the most informed decision for your furry friend’s health. For more information about spaying, neutering, or any other procedures your cat may need, please book an appointment with one of our veterinarians today.