Parrot, cat, dog or snake got your tongue?

When a Good Samaritan finds your lost pet, how can he reunite you both? One answer is microchipping, and it’s becoming increasingly popular. But do you know how microchips actually work? Or even what they look like? They are certainly not the small square devices I imagined when I first heard about them.

A microchip is a device implanted under a pet’s skin, so a vet, for example, can identify Fluffy if he strays from home or from your family while traveling. It is implanted just under the skin so it can be read by an electronic device.

You might be surprised to find that the microchip itself is about the size and shape of a grain of rice. So veterinarians can microchip all kinds of animals, even reptiles and birds.

Some animal shelters microchip every animal that passes through their doors. They recognize the value of them, especially since many lost dogs and cats end up in animal shelters. When I adopted my kitten Watson, he had just been microchipped and I was given a permanent serial number.

Microchips are made of biocompatible materials, so your pet should not experience any allergic reaction to the chip itself. The device does not run on batteries or any power source. Instead, it sits under the skin, waiting to be read.

The pain of microchip insertion is similar to getting a shot. It’s slightly uncomfortable, but certainly worth it.

Check with your local veterinarian or pet shelter about microchip implantation. The procedure is relatively inexpensive, though the benefits of being reunited with a lost pet far outweigh the costs.

And remember: every time you move, register your pet’s microchip with your new address. You want anyone who finds him to be able to find you.

Is your pet microchipped? Was there ever a time that you were reunited through the microchip?

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