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Microchipping Pets: Basic Information

May 15, 2024

May marks National Pet Chip Month. If you have not already had your four-legged buddy chipped, we strongly advise you to do so as soon as possible. While our pet care advice typically varies depending on the pet, this is something that all pets will benefit from. An Askov, MN veterinarian offers instructions on microchipping your pet in this article

What Are Microchips?

These are not the same as computer microchips. A microchip is effectively an implanted ID tag. It typically rests just beneath the skin, between the shoulder blades, in dogs and cats. These act as an invisible link between you and your four-legged companion.

What Animals Can Have Microchips?

Dogs and cats are the most frequently chipped. However, many other species can have chips. The list includes ferrets, tortoises, birds, horses, and reptiles.

Do ID Tags Still Matter?

Absolutely! They are required by law in many places. Even if they are not required in your location, they are still extremely significant. If someone finds your furry buddy, this is the simplest way for them to contact you. (Note: We recommend adding the word REWARD to the tag to encourage people to return wayward pets.)

How Does a Pet Microchip Work?

Microchips are extremely small, roughly the size of a grain of rice. They contain just one piece of information: an identification number. Microchips work via a passive radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. The microchip, also known as a transponder or a PIT (passive transponder tag), remains dormant unless scanned by specified equipment. The low-frequency radio waves these scanners release cause the chip to send the specific ID number, which appears on the device’s screen.

Will A Microchip Help Me Track A Lost Pet?

Unfortunately, microchips do not support GPS. In this situation, the power source presents the issue. This is unlikely to change unless researchers figure out how to harness the energy of Fluffy’s purrs and Fido’s tail wags.

However, you can get GPS tags for your pet. Before making a purchase, you should do some research and consider your options. Waterproofing capability, technology used, battery life, range, and subscription costs are things to consider. For example, some of these devices use Wi-Fi, while others employ satellite technology. Having said that, many pet owners have previously used devices to assist them in finding their lost pets.

How Does The Microchipping Procedure Work?

Your Askov, MN veterinarian will use a hypodermic needle to implant the chip beneath your pet’s skin. This is usually done along with neutering or spaying. This makes sense given that the animal has already been sedated and is already at the clinic. However, you can schedule it separately. See your veterinarian for further information.

Is The Microchipping Process Going To Hurt?

No. This is a simple and quick process. For Fido and Fluffy, it’s akin to receiving a shot. Complications are quite rare. As for recovery time, a treat and a nap should suffice. (Of course, if your pet is also getting fixed, they will need to recuperate afterward.)

How Long Will My Pet’s Microchip Last?

Microchips have an average lifespan of 25 years, which is far longer than the ordinary dog or cat’s. Those who own animals with longer life spans, such as birds and horses, may need to replace their chips at some point.

Can My Phone Scan Microchips?

No. This is also unlikely to change, as phone technology is inherently incompatible with microchips.

What Happens If My Microchipped Dog Is Stolen?

This is a pertinent question, as pet theft is increasing. This is another reason to have your pet microchipped. Microchips can be used in court proceedings as one of the most dependable kinds of proof of ownership. They are also very difficult to remove.

Does My Pet’s Microchip Need to Be Maintained?

No. You will need to keep your records current, but the chip itself should not require any maintenance. Most microchips are dormant. They do not require maintenance, and you cannot install upgrades to improve your pet’s behavior.

You may wish to have your pet’s veterinarian check it regularly to confirm that the chip is still functional and has not moved out of place.

Why Is It Important for My Pet to Be Microchipped?

Microchips establish a vital link between you and your beloved animal friend. Although the prospect of their beloved dogs going missing is upsetting for many, it happens far more frequently than you might expect. Approximately one in every three pets is lost at least once in their lives.

Many people feel that their pets will never run away, since they are loyal and affectionate. Unfortunately, that is not true. When pets are afraid, they frequently flee. There is always a large increase in missing pet reports After New Year’s Eve and July 4th, when many scared pets run off due to noise and fireworks. Fido and Fluffy can also flee after a minor incident, like someone leaving the door open.

Do Microchips Actually Work?

Yes! They’ve helped reunite thousands, if not millions, of stray pets with their frightened owners. If your four-legged friend ever gets lost, this might make a big impact and even save your pet’s life! The statistics on lost animals are disturbing. Research conducted at Ohio State University was quite insightful:

  • 73% of microchipped dog and cat owners were contacted, including 74% of dog owners and 63.5% of cat owners.
  • 61% of cat owners and 76% of dog owners wanted their pets back.
  • Microchipped dogs had a 2.4-fold greater owner return rate than stray dogs in general (52.2% vs. 21.9%).
  • Microchipped cats were 21.4 times more likely to return home than unchipped cats (38.5% versus 1.8%).
  • When owners could not be found, it was typically due to incorrect or disconnected phone numbers. These cases accounted for approximately 35.4% of the tracked cases. A further 24% of the owners did not return calls or correspondence. Approximately 10% of the chips were unregistered, while the remaining 17% were registered in a database other than the chipmakers’.

Do Microchips Provide Other Benefits?

They do! Pet doors are one of the products that can be linked to Fluffy and Fido’s microchip. This allows Fido to roam the yard as he pleases without coming home with raccoons or stray cats. You can also obtain dishes that only accept specific chips. This is important if you have multiple pets, and one or more of them require a specific food. Someday, microchips may be linked to pets’ medical records: not through the chip itself, but through the registry. And it’s going to be interesting to see how these evolve over time!

Will I Need To Pay A Subscription Fee Once My Pet Has Been Chipped?

Certain companies offer fee-based services, however this is not universal. In many circumstances, there is a one-time lifetime charge. See your Askov, MN veterinarian for further information.

My Pet Has Been Microchipped. Now, What Should I Do?

You will need to complete the chipmaker’s register. This is vital! The chip will be useless if your contact information is outdated or missing. Keep your contact information up to date if you move or change it.

Schedule An Appointment At Our Askov, MN Clinic

Do you need to set up a microchipping appointment for your pet? Please contact us, your  Askov, MN veterinary hospital, for all of your veterinary services and care needs. We are here to help!