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Microchipping Pets: Basic Info 

May 1, 2024

May is National Pet Chip Month. If you haven’t had your pet chipped yet, we strongly recommend getting this done ASAP. While our advice on pet care may vary a bit from pet to pet, this is one thing that all pets will benefit from. A nearby veterinarian provides tips on microchipping your pet while you read on.

What Are Microchips?

A microchip is essentially an implanted ID tag, similar to a permanent ID tag. It usually sits slightly beneath the skin, in between the shoulder blades, in dogs and cats. These connect you and your furry best friend, almost like an invisible chain.

How Do Pet Microchips Work?

Microchips are very small, about the size of a grain of rice. They contain only one piece of data: an ID number. The technology used in microchips is called passive radio-frequency identification, or RFID technology. The microchip, often referred to as a transponder or a PIT (passive transponder tag), is inactive until scanned by a specific device. The low-frequency radio waves emitted by these scanners trigger the chip to send that special ID number, which will then appear on the device’s screen.

Can a Microchip Help Me Track My Pet?

Unfortunately, GPS is not a feature of microchips. The obstacle in this case is the power supply. Unless researchers discover a way to harness the energy of Fluffy’s purrs and Fido’s tail wags to power a microchip, that is probably not going to change.

However, you can get GPS tags for your pets. But before making a purchase, you should do some research and examine your options. Things to look over include waterproofing capability, technology employed, battery life, range, and subscription costs. For instance, while some of these gadgets use wi-fi, others use satellite technology. That being said, many pet owners have already used these to help them locate their furry runaways.

How Does the Microchipping Procedure Work?

The vet will implant the chip beneath your pet’s skin using a hypodermic needle. This is often done at the same time as neutering or spaying. This is logical because the animal is sedated and at the clinic already. However you can also schedule it on its own. See your veterinarian for further details.

Is It Painful For Pets To Undergo Microchipping?

No. This is an easy and fast process. For Fido and Fluffy, it’s similar to getting a shot. Complications are extremely rare. As far as recovery time, a treat and a nap should do it. (Of course, if your pet is also getting fixed, they will need to recuperate from that.)

How Long Will Microchips Last?

Microchips have an average lifespan of 25 years, which is much longer than the average dog or cat’s. Individuals who own animals with longer life expectancies—like birds and horses—might need to get new chips at some point.

Can My Phone Scan A Microchip?

No. Since phone technology is ultimately incompatible with microchips, this is also unlikely to change.

What If My Microchipped Dog Is Stolen?

This is a very valid question, as pet theft is on the rise. This is another reason to get your pet chipped. Microchips can be used in legal proceedings as one of the most reliable forms of ownership proof. They are also not easy to remove.

Does My Pet’s Microchip Need To Be Maintained?

No. You will need to keep your records current, but as for the chip itself, you shouldn’t need to do anything. For the most part, microchips are inactive. They don’t require maintenance, and, unfortunately, you won’t be able to install updates to improve your furry pal’s petiquette.

You may want to have your pet’s veterinarian check it regularly to ensure that the chip is still functional and hasn’t moved out of position.

After My Pet Is Chipped, Do I Still Have To Pay A Subscription Fee?

Certain companies do provide fee-based services, but this isn’t universal. In many cases, it’s a one-and-done lifetime fee. See your veterinarian for further details.

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

You will be required to complete the chipmaker’s registry. This is crucial! The chip will be worthless if your contact information is obsolete or absent. Remember to update the info if you move or modify your contact details.

Why Is My Pet’s Microchipping Important?

Microchips provide a lifeline between you and your cherished animal companion. Although the thought of their cherished pets going missing is unsettling for many, it actually occurs far more frequently than you may imagine. Around one in three pets get lost at least once in their lives.

Many people believe their pets won’t ever run away because they are devoted and affectionate. Sadly, that’s not true. Pets often run away if they are scared. There is typically a significant rise in missing pet reports After New Year’s Eve and July 4th, when many pets flee from the noise and fireworks. Fido and Fluffy can also run off after a simple mishap, like someone leaving the door open.

Do Microchips Actually Work?

Yes! They have facilitated the reunions of thousands—perhaps millions—of wayward pets and their worried humans. If your four-legged buddy were to ever get lost, this could make a huge difference, and could even save your furry pal’s life! The statistics on lost animals are very alarming. An Ohio State University study provided some clarification.

  • 73% of microchipped dog and cat owners were reached, with 74% of dog owners and 63.5% of cat owners.
  • 61% of cat owners and 76% of dog owners wanted to have their pets returned.
  • Compared to all stray dogs, microchipped dogs had a 2.4-fold higher owner return rate (52.2% vs. 21.9%).
  • The likelihood of microchipped cats returning home was 21.4 times higher than that of unchipped cats (38.5% vs. 1.8%).
  • When owners could not be located, it was usually due to wrong or disconnected phone numbers. About 35.4% of the cases that were tracked consisted of those cases. A further 24% of the owners did not answer their calls or correspondence. Ten percent or so of the chips were unregistered, and seventeen percent were registered in a database that wasn’t the chipmakers’.  

What Additional Benefits Do Microchips Offer?

There are products that can be linked to Fluffy and Fido’s microchip, such as pet doors. That will allow you to let Fido go out to the yard as he pleases, without letting a raccoon or stray cat in. You can also get dishes that only open for specific chips. This is useful if you have several pets, and one or more require specific diet food.

What Animals Have Microchips?

Dogs and cats are the ones who are most frequently chipped. However, many other animals can have chips. Ferrets, tortoises, birds, horses, and reptiles are among the animals on that list.

Do ID tags Still Matter?

Absolutely! They are legally required in many places. Even if they aren’t mandated in your area, they are still very important. If someone finds your furry friend, this is actually the simplest way for them to get in touch with you. (Note: As an added incentive for people to return them, we advise adding the word REWARD to the tag.)

Book An Appointment At Our Plano, IL Clinic

Do you need to make a microchipping appointment for your pet? Please reach out to us, your Plano, IL vet, for all of your veterinary service and care needs. We’re here to help!

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