One of the best things that you can do for your pet to ensure that they have a permanent form of identification at all times. Collars and tags used to be the best form of identification but those are easily lost, removed or destroyed. If you are interested in a permanent form of identification for your pet, then a microchip is for you!! Once a microchip is applied to your pet, it will never be lost, removed or damaged. The procedure itself is easy and quick. The microchip is applied just below the skin between the shoulder blades and most pets do not seem to be bothered during the application. The microchip can be applied during a routine visit or while your pet is under anesthesia for any surgical procedure. We have prepared a short video showing how a microchip is applied.
Frequently Asked Questions about Microchips
Q: What is a microchip?
A: A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the same size as a grain of rice. The microchip itself does not have a battery—it is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area, and the radiowaves put out by the scanner activate the chip. The chip transmits the identification number to the scanner, which displays the number on the screen. The microchip itself is also called a transponder.
Q: What kind of information is contained in the microchip? Is there a tracking device in it? Will it store my pet's medical information?
A: The microchips presently used in pets only contain identification numbers. No, the microchip is not a GPS device and cannot track your animal if it gets lost. Although the present technology microchip itself does not contain your pet's medical information, some microchip registration databases will allow you to store that information in the database for quick reference.
Q: How does a microchip help reunite a lost animal with its owner?
A: When an animal is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, one of the first things they do is scan the animal for a microchip. If they find a microchip, and if the microchip registry has accurate information, they can quickly find the animal's owner.
Q: Will a microchip really make it more likely for me to get my pet back if it is lost?
A: Definitely! A study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time. For microchipped animals that weren't returned to their owners, most of the time it was due to incorrect owner information (or no owner information) in the microchip registry database – so don't forget to register and keep your information updated.
Q: Does a microchip replace identification tags and rabies tags?
A: Absolutely not. Microchips are great for permanent identification that is tamper-proof, but nothing replaces a collar with up-to-date identification tags. If a pet is wearing a collar with tags when it's lost, it's often a very quick process to read the tag and contact the owner; however, the information on the tags needs to be accurate and up-to-date. But if a pet is not wearing a collar and tags, or if the collar is lost or removed, then the presence of a microchip might be the only way the pet's owner can be found.
Your pet's rabies tag should always be on its collar, so people can quickly see that your pet has been vaccinated for this deadly disease. Rabies tag numbers also allow tracing of animals and identification of a lost animal's owner, but it can be hard to have a rabies number traced after veterinary clinics or county offices are closed for the day. The microchip databases are online or telephone-accessed databases, and are available 24/7/365.
Q: I'm relocating to a country that requires ISO chips, and my pet does not have an ISO chip or doesn't have a microchip at all. What do I need to do?
A: Your pet will need to be implanted with an ISO microchip before it will be allowed into that country. But that's not the only thing you need to know: countries differ widely on their importation rules, including different regulations about required vaccinations and quarantine periods once the animal enters that country. If you do some research and preparation, your pet's relocation can go smoothly. Contact the country of origin to determine their requirements regarding microchips as well as vaccinations, certificates, etc. Alternatively, you can contact an experienced animal shipper who is well-versed in the processes and regulations affecting animal shipment.
Q: I'm relocating to a country that requires ISO chips, and my pet has an ISO chip. What do I need to do?
A: In general, your pet won't need another microchip to be allowed into that country; however, you should check on the destination country's animal importation regulations as you plan your relocation. That's not the only thing you need to know: countries differ widely on their importation rules, including different regulations about required vaccinations and quarantine periods once the animal enters that country. If you do some research and preparation, your pet's relocation can go smoothly. Contact the country of origin to determine their requirements regarding microchips as well as vaccinations, certificates, etc. Alternatively, you can contact an experienced animal shipper who is well-versed in the processes and regulations affecting animal shipment.
Q: What should I do to "maintain" my pet's microchip?
A: Once your pet is microchipped, there are only three things you need to do: 1) make sure the microchip is registered; 2) ask your veterinarian to scan your pet's microchip at least once per year to make sure the microchip is still functioning and can be detected; and 3) keep your registration information up-to-date.
If you've moved, or if any of your information (especially your phone number) has changed, make sure you update your microchip registration in the manufacturer's database as soon as possible.