To Chip Or Not To Chip Your Pet?
The month of May is National Chip Your Pet Month, and this is the time when veterinarians, shelter operators, and pet professionals encourage pet owners to consider the benefits of microchipping their pets. Here are some of the things to consider:
Lifelong protection. Traditional ID tags and collars can become lost, wear down, become destroyed or be removed. A tiny microchip, no bigger than a grain of rice and injected safely under the skin, remains in place and stays readable for the pet’s lifetime. If a pet becomes lost, having a microchip increases the chances of a happy reunion with their family.
Assistance when lost. Most veterinarians and animal shelters have a microchip reader that scans the chip for pet data. Many are universal and can read any microchip. In addition, some microchip registries offer additional support by sending Lost Pet alerts to animal shelters, veterinarians, and local lost pet email lists. Other services may include travel assistance for pets found out of area, and 24 hour Emergency Medical Hotlines.
Affordability. The cost of a microchipping procedure varies but is generally less than $50. Be aware that microchip companies often charge a registration fee to add your pet’s information to their databases. This one-time cost provides a service that offers peace of mind over your pet’s lifetime.
Does it hurt? The discomfort of microchipping has been compared to that of vaccinations, and the process is over just as quickly. However, topical anesthetics can often be requested if your pet is sensitive.
Safety. The microchips are designed to be biocompatible and cause no irritation or allergic response. In the rare case of a reaction at the insertion site, please consult your veterinarian immediately.
Success rate. Here are some astonishing numbers from a study done with more than 7,700 strays at animal shelters: Dogs without microchips were reunited with their owners 21.9% of the time, verses a whopping 52.2% of the time for microchipped dogs! A cat without a microchip has only a 1.8% chance of reuniting with their owners, while a microchipped cat has a 38.5% chance of being reunited!
Once microchipped, be sure to register you and your pet’s information into the chip provider’s database, and be sure to keep it current. For example, if you and your pet move to a new house, remember to update that information with the chip provider. It does no good if your lost pet is chipped but can’t be linked back to you!