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An Introduction to Microchips

March 15, 2017

If you’re new to pet ownership, you may not be familiar with identification microchips. They’re the best way to keep your pet identified properly for a lifetime! Here, a vet in Springdale, ON goes over the basics of microchips for pets:

What’s a Microchip?

A microchip is a tiny computer chip on which a number is implanted electronically. This number corresponds to a database where your pet’s contact information is stored.

The chip is implanted under your pet’s skin, and can be read by specialized scanners at animal shelters and vet’s offices. If a lost pet is relinquished to these facilities, the professionals there can read the chip’s number and quickly get the lost pet back to their rightful owner.

Why Get My Pet a Microchip?

The major benefit that microchips have over ID tags on a collar is that a pet can’t remove the chip, whether by accident or on purpose. This way, your pet is constantly identified even if an unexpected escape occurs. Many pet owners use ID tags and a microchip in tandem for maximum effectiveness.

Another great benefit of microchips is that they’re easy to update if you move or get a new telephone number. You don’t have to buy an entirely new chip—simply contact the microchip manufacturer, and they can update their database in a few short moments.

Can I Use a Microchip to Track My Pet?

Some people make the mistake of thinking that an identification microchip is a tracking device; this isn’t true. Microchips do not allow you to track your pet’s movements in real time, although there are other devices out there that do provide such a service.

How Are Microchips Implanted?

Microchips are implanted under your pet’s skin using a specialized syringe. The chip itself is housed inside of a glass capsule, and the unit is typically placed between your pet’s shoulder blades. Sometimes, this area will be marked with a small tattoo to make it easy to find.

Is There Any Risk?

The microchip implant procedure is entirely safe and virtually risk-free. There is a chance that minor side effects—some swelling or inflammation—may occur, but these symptoms are easily treated by a veterinarian.

Our Advice on An Introduction to Microchips in 2024

What is a pet identification microchip, and how does it work?

A pet identification microchip is a small electronic chip, roughly the size of a grain of rice, implanted under a pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The microchip stores a unique identification number. When a scanner is passed over the chip, it transmits the number to the scanner. This number and the pet owner’s contact information are registered in a database. If a lost pet is found and scanned, the retrieved number can be used to identify the pet and reunite it with its owner. The chip itself is passive, meaning it doesn’t require a power source and is only activated by the scanner’s signal.

What are the key benefits of microchipping a pet compared to using ID tags?

Microchipping offers critical benefits over ID tags for pet identification. Unlike tags, which can break or become lost, microchips are permanent and can’t be removed or fall off accidentally. This ensures continuous identification, which is crucial if a pet gets lost. Microchips are also more reliable for reuniting lost pets with their owners, as they can’t be altered or damaged. Additionally, updating contact information is simple with a microchip; you only need to update your details in the chip’s database rather than replacing a physical tag. While microchips don’t replace the need for ID tags, which provide immediate contact information, they offer a secure and lasting means of identification.

What is the process for implanting a microchip in a pet?

Implanting a microchip in a pet is quick and relatively painless, similar to a routine vaccination. A veterinarian uses a specialized syringe to insert the microchip, encased in a small glass capsule, under the pet’s skin, typically between the shoulder blades. The procedure doesn’t require anesthesia and can be completed during a regular veterinary visit. After implantation, the microchip remains under the skin, where it’s biocompatible and shouldn’t cause any discomfort. The pet owner then registers the microchip number with their contact information in a national pet recovery database, which is crucial for effective identification if the pet is lost.

What are the possible side effects or risks associated with microchip implantation?

The microchip implantation process is generally safe with minimal risks. Possible side effects are rare, including temporary pain or discomfort at the injection site, swelling, inflammation, or infection. In sporadic cases, there may be hair loss or a small lump formation where the chip is implanted. There’s also a low risk of the microchip migrating from the original implantation site. However, these complications are uncommon. The benefits of having a microchip far outweigh these minimal risks, as it provides a reliable method for reuniting lost pets with their owners. Discussing any concerns with a veterinarian before the procedure is always advisable.

Why is it important for pet owners to consider microchipping their animals?

Microchipping is vital for pet owners as it provides a permanent, secure form of identification. Unlike collars or tags, which can be lost or removed, a microchip stays with the pet for life, significantly increasing the chances of a lost pet being reunited with its owner. Microchips are particularly valuable in emergencies or natural disasters when pets may become separated from their owners. The unique identification number in the chip can be accessed by veterinarians or shelters, enabling them to retrieve the owner’s contact information from a national database. This simple, safe, and effective method ensures a reliable way to identify pets and safeguard their well-being.

Would you like more information about microchips for pets? Ready to have your animal companion outfitted with one? Set up an appointment today at your Springdale, ON animal hospital.