Microchipping your pet

Microchipping Could Save your Pet’s Life

A microchip  is a small chip about the size of a grain of rice that emits a signal to a unique scanner indicating the unique identification number of the chip.  This small item could safe your pet’s life by reuniting you with a lost pet.   It can also serve as proof of ownership or even mean the difference between euthanasia and medical care in an emergency.

Microchip Implantation:

The microchip is small enough to pass through a very large needle made for this purpose.  We ideally recommend waiting until the pet is being spayed or neutered so they don’t feel the rather large needle but waiting runs the risk of the pet escaping unidentified so it is a good idea to consider implanting the chip as soon as possible. The chip can be inserted in a completely awake dog as surgery is not part of the procedure, but it is more uncomfortable due to the size of the needle.

Mircochip application device and identification numbers

How does a microchip work?

Our universal microchip scanner!

Our Universal Microchip Scanner

Each microchip has a unique identification number encoded into it. None of your personal information is on the chip. The chip number is similar to a VIN on a car or serial number to a TV. It is registered in a central registry and that is where your personal information (name, address, phone number, alternate contact, pet description etc.) is stored.  At this time microchips can NOT be used to locate bets as they do not have GPS abilities.  A microchip scanner is used to detect the unique identification number from your pets microchip.

One of the most important things to do when your pet is microchipped is to register it and keep the information up to date!  If a chip is unregistered, the manufacturer can trace the chip to the facility (pet store, shelter, animal hospital etc.) that they sold it to but if that facility does not have their own computerized records, then this will lead to a dead-end and it’s just a worthless piece of metal under your pets skin at that point.

If your chip is not registered and someone finds your pet and wishes to keep him, they may simply register the chip in their own name.  At that point, it would be very difficult for you to prove that it is truly your pet!  Most registries do not require an annual renewal.   A few may require it just to make sure your information is up to date.

Situations Where a Chip Can Mean Life or Death

Lost Pet –The animal is taken to a local animal hospital or shelter by a Good Samaritan.  The pet is scanned, the ID number found, the registry is contacted to get your information, and you will be notified. Our hospital and the local emergency clinic have seen lots of lost pets reunited with their family within hours of being found due to microchips.

Natural Disaster – Being able to prove a pet is yours is invaluable in this situation, especially if your pet is difficult to identify from a photo or does not have distinguishing markings. After Hurricane Katrina, a number of rescued animals were evacuated to holding areas and their photos posted on the Internet. Many pets were frightened and good photographs could not be obtained.

Injury – If a pet is injured while lost or roaming a good Samaritan might bring the pet to an animal hospital for care. A stranger may not be willing to cover expenses for a pet they found on the road and if your pet has no identification, then you may never even know what happened.  Many hospitals will not provide much care other than life saving procedures without an owner due to liability issues. A microchip allows you to be notified so that you can make decisions.

Let us know if you any questions about microchipping or would like to get your pet chipped!