The jingle of identification tags on your dog’s collar can sometimes be annoying, especially when you just put your baby down for a nap or want to catch a little shut-eye yourself. But, those tags are an important aspect of keeping your pet safe in the event that she disappears. Unfortunately, identification tags can easily be removed or come off on their own. But, there’s another layer of protection available to identify your pet when necessary, and this identification can’t be so easily removed: a microchip.
Common microchip myths
MYTH: My pet needs to be fully sedated to have a microchip placed.
TRUTH: There is no sedation required when placing a microchip. About the size of a grain of rice, a microchip can be included in your puppy or kitten’s vaccination series. It’s given just like a vaccine and placed in the loose skin between the shoulder blades. Most pets don’t even notice the poke of the needle as long as they have a tasty treat to distract them.
MYTH: A microchip is a GPS tracking device.
TRUTH: Unfortunately, there are no microchips available that have a tracking function at this time.
MYTH: Only dogs, not cats, need to be microchipped.
TRUTH: While it’s true that house cats are less likely to go outside, they can still bolt out the front door on occasion. Most cats do not wear collars or any other form of identification, so they will benefit greatly from microchipping. Less than 2 percent of cats without microchips are returned home, while the return rate for microchipped cats is 20 times that.
MYTH: I need to microchip my pet more than once.
TRUTH: A microchip will last the lifetime of your pet. There are no batteries or moving parts, and a microchip will not degenerate inside your pet. The only maintenance required with a microchip is keeping your contact information up to date. If you move or change your phone number, please make sure your pet’s microchip registration reflects that change.
MYTH: Microchips are too expensive.
TRUTH: Microchips are actually quite economical. We charge $71 for the insertion of the microchip. GPS tracking collars are much pricier.
Important microchip facts
- Microchips can be implanted in kittens and puppies as young as 6 weeks. This will provide some comfort when your stubborn puppy likes to bolt out the front door.
- Most pets don’t notice the microchip insertion any more than a typical vaccination. The hole from the larger gauge needle closes quickly and requires no special care.
- Registration is crucial! Make sure your pet’s microchip registration is completed immediately and updated as needed when your contact information changes.
- If your pet is lost, she must be picked up and taken to a local animal shelter or veterinary clinic that has a microchip scanner. Your pet will be scanned, and her unique number will pop up. That number will be entered into the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) Universal Pet Microchip Lookup, and the company that the chip is registered to will provide the shelter or clinic with the owner’s name and contact info. Unfortunately, microchips do not provide GPS tracking capabilities that allow you to track your pet with your phone.
- A collar with identification tags is a great tool that provides anyone who finds your pet with your contact information. On the other hand, microchips provide a second level of security that is unable to be tampered with or removed, but your pet must be scanned in order to receive your contact information.
- A large number of pets that are adopted from animal shelters or bought from a breeder already have microchips. All you need to do is register the chip under your information.
- AAHA’s Check the Chip Day is August 15. Ensure your contact information is up to date, and bring your pet into our office that day to be scanned for a functioning microchip.
Peace of mind is priceless when it comes to your beloved family pet. If your pet hasn’t been microchipped, call us at 615-383-1000.