All About the Pet Microchip: Is it Worth It?

All About the Pet Microchip
All About the Pet Microchip

Pet identification is extremely important to concerned animal parents. Worrying about the whereabouts of a lost pet can be a traumatic experience and a collar can only do so much for an animal stranded in an unknown environment. The pet microchip was created to alleviate these fears and increase the chances for a joyous reunion.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Microchips

The pet microchip is a small device that is implanted in your pet and, when scanned, identifies a unique code that’s specifically created for your furry friend. It’s microscopic in size (roughly the size of a grain of rice), compact, and easily inserted under the skin. When a microchip scanner is used to search for a dog or cat with a microchip, a unique number comes up that specifically identifies the pet and its owner.

How Much Does a Pet Microchip Cost?

Microchips can be relatively inexpensive, but the cost will ultimately depend on your pet, your veterinary hospital of choice, the specific type of chip, and your location. The price range is typically between $45 and $150, which does not always include added fees for adoption registration, or service charges.

How Long Does a Microchip Last?

Typically, a microchip can last up to 20 years and most chip companies will guarantee the product for the life of the animal.

Can You Feel Your Pet’s Microchip?

The ability to feel a microchip depends on its location and the physical build of your animal.Thin animals with short hair coats may show signs of chip implantation, which is often located just over the shoulder blades. When the microchip is placed in slightly deeper tissues, it becomes hard to feel with the human hand. Often, a microchip will migrate in the body and move to areas surrounding the chest wall, which can occur in animals with less fat or a smaller stature.

What are the Side Effects of Getting a Pet Microchip?

Side effects are very uncommon with the microchip. After implantation, there may be some bleeding at the injection site and the potential for temporary hair loss.

How are Pet Microchips Implanted?

Pet microchips are implanted with a large syringe just over the shoulder blades, behind the head, but above the scruff of the neck. Over time, a thin layer of connective tissue will form around the chip, and anchor it in place. After the procedure, the microchip does not require any maintenance or special care. Placement generally does not cause much pain and the typical procedure involves the following:

  • The microchip packet is opened and the contents are evaluated. This packet often includes the chip itself, a clip for the pet’s collar, a syringe, and stickers that identify the chip number.
  • The chip is scanned. This is done to confirm that it is functional and the number is accurate.
  • The area where the microchip will be implanted is cleaned. A vet will disinfect the area with alcohol and may numb the area slightly with an ice pack, which helps to minimize discomfort.
  • A technician will restrain your pet–briefly. As the syringe is inserted into the subcutaneous area between the skin and muscle, the plunger is pressed and the microchip enters the body.
  • They’ll check for functionality. After the procedure, the pet microchip is scanned to ensure that the chip is present and functional.
  • The final step is getting the chip registered. Your chosen chip company will need to pair the chip number you’ve chosen with your personal contact information, so that if your pet is found, you can be located immediately. It is critical to provide your name, address, and the best phone number to reach you.

Are Pet Microchips Worth It?

Considering the low price, limited strain, and potential for a lifetime of service, the pet microchip is a good investment for pet parents, as they can assure that you are reunited with your lost pet and avoid the torment of not knowing the whereabouts of a devoted companion.

Learn more in these two articles – Should You Use a Dog Microchip? and Microchipping for Your Cat’s Safety.

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