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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Microchipping in Pets

Microchips provide pets with a permanent form of identification if they should ever become lost or stolen.

November 16, 2022 4 min read
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Microchipping in Pets

A microchip is a permanent form of identification for your pet. It is inserted under the skin and contains a unique ID number that matches an account in a database with the pet owner’s contact information. Unlike a collar and ID tag, a microchip cannot fall off or become illegible. Microchips are one of the best ways to reunite lost or stolen pets with their owners.

If you have recently got your pet microchipped or are thinking of getting your pet chipped, you may have some questions. Here’s a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about microchipping in pets.

1. What Is a Pet Microchip?

A microchip is a small, electronic chip that is inserted under an animal’s skin. This tiny transmitter is no larger than a grain of rice and holds a unique identification number. When scanned, the microchip transmits the ID number to the scanner. The ID number can then be entered into a database to find the contact information of the pet’s owner.

2. Do Microchips Have GPS Tracking Capabilities?

Despite common misconceptions, pet microchips do not contain GPS trackers. This means that you cannot use your pet’s microchip to track him if he should ever become lost or stolen. Instead, the person that finds your pet must bring him to a vet’s office, animal shelter, or other location that has a scanner.

3. How Long Do Microchips Last?

Pet microchips are designed to last the lifetime of your pet. The microchip does not contain a battery and will not break down in the body. Instead, it only becomes active when detecting radio waves from a scanner. Most microchips will stay in place once inserted under the skin. However, in rare cases, microchips can migrate.

4. Does Microchipping Hurt the Animal?

It’s not uncommon for people to think that inserting a microchip under an animal’s skin causes it pain. While microchip insertion is not always completely painless, most pets can tolerate the procedure just fine. The insertion of a microchip can be compared to any other routine vaccination your pet may receive. If you are concerned about the discomfort that your pet may experience, consider having the chip implanted during another procedure that requires anesthesia, such as a spay, neuter, or dental cleaning.

5. Is Microchipping an Invasive Surgery?

Microchipping is a quick and simple procedure that can be done in your vet’s office in just minutes. There are no scalpels used to implant a microchip. Instead, the microchip comes loaded into a needle directly from the microchip provider. The needle is then inserted, usually right between the shoulder blades, and the trigger is pulled to inject the microchip under the skin.

6. How Do I Keep My Contact Information Updated?

There is a chance that your address or phone number could change over your pet’s lifetime. When this happens, you’ll want to promptly contact your microchip provider to update your contact information. In some cases, a microchip provider will provide you with an online portal that you can use to update this information on your own.

7. Are Pet Microchips Expensive?

While pet microchip technology sounds costly, this procedure is actually quite affordable. According to Outward Hound, the average cost of a microchip for pets is around $50. This cost includes both the microchip itself and the registration. There is generally no annual fee to maintain your registration with the microchip provider.

8. Why Does My Pet Need Another Form of Identification?

Your dog probably already has a collar with an ID tag that says his name, address, and phone number. Having an ID tag on your pet’s collar is always a great idea as it allows whoever finds your pet to get him home as quickly as possible. However, there is always a chance that your pet’s collar could fall off or be taken off, preventing whoever finds your pet from contacting you. A microchip acts as a permanent form of identification and a backup for a traditional ID tag.

9. Does a Microchip Put My Personal Privacy at Risk?

Some pet owners worry about their privacy when getting a microchip for their pets. However, privacy should not be a big concern. The only information that a microchip holds is an identification number. The pet owner’s contact information is stored in a secure database that cannot be accessed by unauthorized personnel.

10. Is Microchipping Only for Dogs?

Many people associate pet microchips with dogs but canines are not the only animals that can benefit from microchips. Cats can also receive microchips which can greatly increase their odds of being reunited with their owners if lost or stolen. Cats who are allowed to roam independently outside are at an increased risk of getting lost or stolen, meaning they should always be microchipped for their protection.

11. Can a Pet Microchip Fail?

While it is possible for a microchip to fail, this is a rare occurrence. Failures can manifest in several ways, such as the inability of a scanner to detect the microchip. There is also a low chance that the scanner returns incorrect data after the microchip is scanned. These types of issues can occur for a number of reasons, such as if the microchip is blocked under layers of fat.

Microchipping is one of the best ways to improve your chances of being reunited with your lost or stolen pet. If you have more questions about microchipping, contact your veterinarian.

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