For many years, microchipping has been a standard procedure in the livestock industry, and this practice is also becoming a more popular identification (ID) method for cats, dogs, and exotic pets. Although currently available microchips do not include global positioning system (GPS) capabilities, the technology is evolving. For example, some microchips can display your pet’s body temperature. 

If you are on the fence about microchipping your pet, read our Roosevelt Animal Hospital team’s responses to common questions about this ID form and learn the what, who, why, when, and where of pet microchipping.

WHAT is a microchip for pets?

A microchip is as tiny as a rice grain and enclosed in a glass cylinder. Because a microchip has no moving parts or batteries, it will last throughout your pet’s life, and never needs replacement. When a microchip scanner is passed over the chip, the radio waves activate it, and the chip transmits an ID number that the scanner displays. 

Microchip manufacturers keep ID numbers in their registration database. Your pet’s ID number is securely linked to your contact information, so your private information cannot be compromised. When a microchip ID number is entered into the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA’s) universal database, the manufacturing and registration name pops up, contacting the microchip company, who in turn, contacts you to inform you that your pet has been found.

WHO should have a pet microchip?

Ideally, all pets should have a microchip, whether they are cats who strictly stay in the house or dogs who regularly go outdoors. Accidents can occur in the blink of an eye, and a pet can dart out an open door or slip out of their collar and quickly become lost. If your pet is microchipped, you won’t have to worry if they are not wearing their collar and ID tags when they go missing, as they have their permanent ID with them always. 

WHY should my pet be microchipped?

Although a microchip may seem invasive, the device is nothing more than an inert tool used to help reunite you with your pet. Microchipping’s benefits are invaluable, far outweighing any negatives. By microchipping your pet, you both enjoy:

  • A permanent ID — Your pet will never lose their microchip, and the information it carries will not fade away. As the only currently available permanent pet ID, a microchip acts as backup to ID tags that attach to pets’ collars, which can become worn and illegible, or lost if the collar falls off or is removed.
  • Safer travels — When traveling within the United States or to another country, your pet may escape and lose their collar and ID tags. If your pet is lost outside the United States with no ID, a reunion is virtually impossible. However, a microchip increases your chances for being reunited with your pet. If your pet has an International Standards Organization (ISO) microchip, they can travel worldwide, and standard ISO scanners can access your contact information. Unfortunately, our nation has yet to adhere to the global standard for pet microchips, and non-ISO chips are usually the only type offered, which non-universal scanners cannot read.
  • Increased reunion likelihood — Because your pet’s microchip cannot be removed and continues to work without needing replacement, it is the best way to guarantee a reunion with your missing furry pal.

WHERE will my pet be microchipped?

Our Roosevelt Animal Hospital team will insert your pet’s microchip just under the skin between your furry friend’s shoulder blades. This procedure is similar to your pet being vaccinated, although the needle is slightly larger. Your pet may startle initially, but the procedure is generally quick and simple.

WHEN should my pet be microchipped?

Your pet can be microchipped at any time, although if they are exceptionally tiny during their first puppy or kitten visit, our team may recommend you wait until your furry pal is a bit larger. If your pet has an upcoming surgical procedure scheduled, such as their spay or neuter, we can easily place their microchip while they are anesthetized, ensuring they  feel absolutely no discomfort.

Whether you have an older pet who has never been microchipped, or you are planning on welcoming home a new furry family member, consider having them microchipped. To schedule your pet’s microchip appointment or to further discuss microchipping’s benefits, call our Roosevelt Animal Hospital team.