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May is Chip Your Pet Month! So, we thought it would be a great topic for our pet families. How much do you really know about micro-chipping? There are a lot of myths about these little chips and how they work. Do they locate your pet exactly? Are they a homing device like GPS? How often do you have to chip? All these questions are about to be answered for you. Keeping your pet safe is the number one priority and micro-chipping can be an answer to that for your peace of mind. 

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a radio-frequency identification transponder that carries a unique identification number, and is roughly the size of a grain of rice. When the microchip is scanned by a vet or shelter, it transmits the ID number. There’s no battery, no power required, and no moving parts. The microchip is injected under the loose skin between your dog’s shoulder blades and can be done in your vet’s office. It’s no more invasive than a vaccination.

So, what do I do now?

When you register your dog’s microchip, enter all relevant contact information. It’s a good idea to include both landline and cell phone numbers for you and anyone else in your household who is responsible for ownership. You don’t want to miss a call telling you that your canine companion has been found. Remember to keep your contact information up to date with the registry, too.

While microchip technology is pretty mature, different registries offer different services. Some, including AKC Reunite, provide a Lost Pet Alert that broadcasts your dog’s information to a network of vets, shelters, and volunteers in your area.

Does it hurt my Pet?

No anesthetic is required for a microchip implant. The procedure is performed at your veterinarian’s office and is simple and similar to administering a vaccine or a routine shot.

The microchip injection comes preloaded in a sterile applicator and is injected under the loose skin between the shoulder blades. The process takes only a few seconds.

Who needs to be micro-chipped and can it locate exactly where my pet is located?

Pet microchips are for both dogs and cats. Many cats don’t wear collars or tags so there is an even smaller chance of their return to their owners. These are not tracking devices. They are radio-frequency identification (RFID) implants that provide permanent ID for your pet.

Because they use RFID technology, microchips do not require a power source like a GPS. When a microchip scanner is passed over the pet, the microchip gets enough power from the scanner to transmit the microchip’s ID number. Since there’s no battery and no moving parts, there’s nothing to keep charged, wear out, or replace. The microchip will last your pet’s lifetime.

Do I need to microchip my pet more than once?

A microchip will normally last the lifetime of your pet because it is composed of biocompatible materials that will not degenerate over time.

Many microchips have technology that allows it to work in the pet’s body without being absorbed or causing any issues. Since microchips require no power source and have no moving parts, there’s nothing that can wear out and need to be replaced. Pet owners can also check to make sure their pet’s microchip is still working by asking a vet to scan it during their pet’s next checkup.

It is a sad fact that hundreds of dogs and cats go missing every year and are found, rather bedraggled but perfectly healthy, handed into the local animal shelter which then searches desperately for the animal’s owner to no avail. In some cases the dogs are even euthanized. Many of these fine canines had been equipped with dog identification tags or collars but with so much time astray from their owners such collars had often slipped off or, agonizingly, the writing had become illegible. By micro-chipping your pet, you can alleviate all of this trouble. Plus, you’ll get to see your homesick pet much sooner! Contact Fox Creek Animal Hospital for more information about micro-chipping your pet!