Miniaturized bar code technology has resulted in the introduction of microchipping, which has revolutionized pet identification. The microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades of your pet through an injection similar to having your pet vaccinated. The procedure is quick to perform, requires no anesthesia and can be done during a routine office visit with us. Once implanted, your pet is permanently identified with a unique ID number. Should your pet become lost, its unique ID number can be easily displayed with a microchip reader. This allows your pet to be quickly identified and happily reunited with you.
Below are the answers to a few common questions about pet microchipping…
What is a microchip?
A microchip is a device about the size of a grain of rice containing a unique identification number that can be read by a portable hand-held scanner. The number connects the animal to vital owner and veterinarian information.
How does a microchip work?
A microchip is inserted into the scuff of the animal’s neck. When an animal come into a shelter, a technician scans the entire body of the animal looking for a microchip. If an animal has a chip, a number will register on the scanner. A clerk will call the microchip company to obtain owner information and then contact the owner.
Why would an owner want to microchip their pet and why is a license and/or name tag not enough protection?
Your pet should always wear his/her license tag. Often, however, collars can fall off leaving the pet without any visible identification. A microchip is a permanent device that can identify your pet if they are lost or stolen.
If an owner’s pet never gets out of their house or yard, why should they microchip them?
Many animals that live exclusively in the house or yard still become lost. A utility worker or the gardener can let them out of the yard. Also, your pet can run out of the house and become lost. It is important that all animals wear their license tags and be microchipped to help identify and return them to their owners.
Will the microchip stay in place in the animal?
In most cases, the microchip will remain in the area of the injection. However, in case the microchip migrates, the shelter technicians scan the entire animal’s body looking for a chip.
How long does the microchip last?
Microchips will remain active for the life of the animal.
Will the procedure hurt the owner’s pet?
For most animals, inserting the microchip is not painful. It is a needle prick in the scuff of the animal’s neck, similar to a vaccination.
How does a shelter know a pet belongs to an owner?
When the animal is scanned and a chip is found, the clerk uses the microchip number to identify the owner through three principal microchip registration companies. The clerk will then contact the owner by phone and/or letter to let them know we have their animal.
What is the youngest age a pet can be microchipped?
Dogs and cats can be microchipped at any age.
If an owner moves, can they change their address information?
Yes. The owner can contact the microchip company to change their address information or in some case, they can make the changes themselves online. It is important to maintain current information so shelter personnel can locate the owner of lost pets.