How often do you stop at an intersection or walk into a coffee shop or supermarket and see the missing pet flyer with the photo of that cute face? As animal lovers and owners, we empathize. We also feel that twinge reminding us, “That could be MY pet.” But it doesn’t have to be.
Microchipping your pet is one of the easiest and most-effective ways to increase the odds that you and your pet, if it becomes lost or stolen, will be reunited.
What you need to KNOW —
What IS a microchip?
The chip itself is a very small electronic part enclosed in a bioglass cylinder no bigger than a grain of rice. The chip has no battery but is activated by a special scanner passed over the area. The scanner reads an ID number that displays on a screen. That number corresponds to the pet owner’s contact information in the chip manufacturer’s registration database.
What information is on the chip?
Only an identification number unique to your pet. The chip is not a tracking device (though such devices are available, such as Tractive® GPS products). Current microchip technology does not provide medical information on the chip itself, but some microchip registration databases allow you to store that information for quick reference.
How does it work?
When someone finds your pet and takes it to a shelter or veterinary clinic, one of the first things they do is scan the animal for a microchip. If the scanner finds the chip, and if your information in the microchip registry is current, they can quickly find you.
What is the procedure for inserting the chip?
Your veterinarian injects the chip under the skin with a hypodermic needle only slightly larger than those used for vaccines. The process involves no more discomfort than a normal injection, and no anesthesia is required. Chip implantation can be performed either during a routine veterinary office visit or sometimes while your pet is already under anesthesia for another procedure, like as neutering or spaying.
What you need to DO —
First, if your pet isn’t already microchipped, then make an appointment with your veterinarian for microchipping. Then make sure that your pet’s chip is immediately registered.
Second, verify that your previously microchipped pet’s registration information in the chip manufacturer’s database is up-to-date. You’ll need your pet’s microchip number for the registration update. Make sure that all information is correct, particularly your phone numbers and address.
Please be sure you register your pet’s microchip with the database that animal shelters and veterinarians will search: the one maintained by the manufacturer of your pet’s chip. AAHA’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool links to most microchip manufacturers’ databases, offering a quick search of any microchip made by these manufacturers. Some public microchip registries also are linked to the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool. Remember, in case your pet gets lost, you won’t fret (as much) if you chipped your pet!