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What Vets Want You to Know and Expect When Microchipping Your Pet

Keep your pet’s microchip information up-to-date with our guide on the latest updating procedures.

Microchipping, a high-level overview

In today’s modern society, microchipping technology is everywhere- from cell phones to car keys and much more. There are many different types of microchips to do different jobs, depending on the purpose.

Microchipping animals isn’t a new concept. In fact, microchips are commonly used to keep track of the migration patterns and movements of wild animals by storing the animal’s unique identification info.

A microchip implanted under your pet’s skin provides reliable identification for his entire life, greatly increasing your chances of being reunited if you ever become separated.

Here’s what vets want you to know about microchipping your pet, including how the microchip works, what it can and can’t do, and what to expect during the procedure.

Why Microchipping Your Pet Is So Important

Every pet owner should have their pet microchipped because it could mean the difference between life and death for your beloved fur baby if he ever becomes lost. 

Anytime a stray pet is brought to a shelter, it is scanned for a microchip. Pets without a microchip are more likely to be euthanized in crowded shelters if the pet’s owner or a suitable home can be found right away.

Not only that, but the microchip will dramatically increase your chances of being reunited with your lost pet, whether he’s taken to the shelter, a rescue, or found by an individual.

And finally, if your pet is lost or stolen, a microchip is the best way to prove that the animal belongs to you.

The Implantation Process is Practically Painless and Does Not Require Surgery or Anesthesia

Implanting a microchip is no more painful than receiving a vaccine. The needle is slightly larger to accommodate the chip and your pet may notice a pinch during the implant procedure. No anesthesia is required, and implantation can be done during a routine office visit at your vet.

Dog Microchipping Process

For many pet owners, understanding the process of microchipping can provide peace of mind and dispel any myths or concerns. Here’s a detailed step-by-step breakdown of how the dog microchipping process usually unfolds:

Consultation: Before the procedure, the vet will usually discuss the benefits of microchipping and any concerns you might have. This is a good time to ask questions and get clarification on any points of confusion.

Preparation: Your dog doesn’t need to be sedated for the process, as it’s relatively quick and painless. However, if your dog is already sedated for another procedure (like neutering or dental work), the microchipping can be done simultaneously. The area between the shoulder blades, where the chip will be inserted, is cleaned.

Implantation: The microchip, which is approximately the size of a grain of rice, is loaded into a sterile applicator. The vet will then quickly insert the microchip beneath the surface of your dog’s skin, typically between the shoulder blades.

Checking the Microchip: Immediately after implantation, the vet will use a scanner to check that the microchip is working correctly and that it can be detected.

Registration: Once the microchip is in place, you will be given a unique identification number. It’s crucial to register this number, along with your contact details, on the relevant microchip database. This ensures that if your dog is found and scanned, the rescuer will be able to access your contact details and notify you.

Post-Procedure Care: No special care is required post-microchipping. However, just as with any procedure, monitor the insertion site for any signs of redness, swelling, or discomfort. If you notice anything unusual, consult your vet.

Periodic Scanning: During your regular vet visits, it’s a good idea to ask the vet to scan the microchip. This ensures it’s still functioning correctly and can be detected easily.

Remember, the implantation process is practically painless and does not require surgery or anesthesia. Implanting a microchip is no more painful than receiving a vaccine. The needle is slightly larger to accommodate the chip and your pet may notice a pinch during the implant procedure. No anesthesia is required, and implantation can be done during a routine office visit at your vet.

However, if you’re concerned about your pet experiencing any pain, there is another option. The doctors at Bond Vet Animal Hospital in NYC “highly recommend microchipping while your pet is sedated for another procedure, such as spaying, neutering, or dental work.”

Dog Tracking Chip Implants:

GPS dog tracking devices utilize sophisticated components to communicate with satellites and determine a location, the current size of this technology prevents it from being seamlessly integrated into an implantable chip beneath your dog’s skin. Furthermore, unlike the passive nature of standard microchips, GPS units require a power source, necessitating regular charging. As of now, finding an appropriate and humane method to implant a device with a chargeable battery under a pet’s skin remains a challenge.

While we’re not yet at the point where GPS trackers can be implanted, there are still effective ways to harness their capabilities. Many GPS dog trackers are designed to attach securely to your dog’s collar or harness. These external devices provide real-time location tracking, enabling pet owners to monitor their dog’s movements through mobile apps or computer software. This approach not only ensures the safety and comfort of the pet but also offers owners peace of mind, knowing they can locate their furry friend anytime, anywhere.

Microchipping Isn’t Just for Dogs and Cats

Although it’s most common to microchip dogs and cats, other pets like horses, birds, and reptiles are often microchipped as well.

How a Pet Microchip Works

A pet microchip is a tiny, electronic chip the size of a grain of rice that your vet will implant just under your pet’s skin, usually in between his shoulder blades. The chip utilizes radio frequency technology (RFID) to store an identification number. 

It’s important to know that microchips are only capable of passively storing information. They do not actively transmit data and they don’t contain a battery, power source, or any moving parts. The chip sits inactively inside your pet and can only be read with a special scanner.

When the microchip is scanned using a special microchip reader at a shelter, rescue organization, or animal hospital, a unique identification number is revealed. This number tells the user which company the chip is registered with. The number is then entered into the microchip registry database where your contact information is kept on file.

Most, if not all, animal shelters, rescue organizations, and animal hospitals have some type of microchip reader. It is standard practice to scan all lost, stray, and injured animals for a microchip.

A Microchip Is Not A Tracking Device

Microchips are activated by the scanner and only contain your pet’s unique identification number. They are not GPS enabled and they are not capable of tracking your pet’s location if he gets lost.

A Microchip Only Stores Your Pet’s Unique Identification Number

 The actual microchip itself only contains your pet’s unique identification number. Your contact information is stored in a secure location by the registry company. 

Microchipping your pet does not make your private information easily accessible by any random person, and the only information the company can access is the information that you choose to provide.

You Must Register Your Pet’s Microchip and Keep Your Information Up to Date

Once your pet has been microchipped, you must register the chip in a microchip registry database using your pet’s unique identification number.

The registry database keeps track of your name, your pet’s name, your telephone numbers, physical address, and email address. Be sure to provide as much information as possible, including your landline, cell phone, work number, and an emergency contact.

Our registry at Peeva is actually the only one of its kind that also stores your pet’s important medical information. This can be very useful if your pet requires medication for chronic health issues like diabetes, heart disease, or epilepsy. 

If any of this information changes, it’s absolutely essential that you update the registry company right away. Microchipping your pet is pointless if your registry company doesn’t have your current information on file.

Microchips Don’t Require Much Maintenance

The microchip itself really doesn’t require any maintenance once it has been registered, other than keeping your information up to date in the database. 

However, microchips can migrate and become difficult to find in rare cases. It is a good idea to have the chip scanned periodically during routine vet visits to ensure that it’s still in the right location and easily readable.

It’s Hard to Remove or Damage a Microchip

Removing a microchip usually requires surgery, so it’s unlikely that an unscrupulous person would remove your pet’s microchip in an effort to conceal his identity. 

It’s also very difficult to damage a microchip and make it unreadable, but you should know that it can happen in cases of major trauma. If your pet is ever in an accident, you should have his microchip scanned to ensure that it’s still in good working order.

Microchipping Is Very Affordable 

Microchipping is not expensive. Depending on where you live, you can expect to pay around $40-90 to have the chip implanted. Then, you’ll need to pay a fee to the microchip registry company where your contact information is stored. 

Here at Peeva, pets that are implanted are registered onsite. The cost of chip and implant is $80 and that includes lifetime enrollment in our International Pet Recovery Database. Online Registrations only costs a one-time fee of $30. We can register any brand of microchip in about a minute and your pet will be protected for life.

Your Pet Should Have a Microchip and an ID Tag

It’s always a good idea to keep an ID tag on your pet’s collar. This will give anyone who finds your pet a quick and easy way to reach you. That way, if your buddy dashes out the door and winds up in the neighbor’s yard, they can reach you quickly and easily without having to take your pet somewhere to get his microchip scanned.

That being said, collars can break, fall off, or be taken off, and tags can become illegible or fall off over time. Or, what if your pet slips out the door without his collar on at all? A microchip is a tamper-proof, reliable back up for your pet’s tags, and every pet should have both.

Shelter Pets Are Often Microchipped Before Adoption

If you recently adopted your pet from a shelter or rescue, there’s a good chance that he is already microchipped. Check your adoption paperwork for your pet’s unique microchip identification number and registration information. 

If you don’t know your pet’s number or you’re not sure if he has a chip, most animal hospitals and shelters are happy to scan your pet at no charge. You’ll want to ensure that your information is provided to the microchip registry right away, just in case your new baby gets lost.

Microchipping Must Be Done by the Vet or Shelter

Although the procedure is simple, much like giving an injection, the procedure does require some specialized training. 

If you try to implant the chip at home and use too much force, place the chip too deeply, or don’t put it in the right place, the chip will be difficult to detect.

Inserting the chip improperly could also cause major health issues for your pet, so it’s simply not worth the risk.  

The Benefits of Microchipping Your Pet Far Outweigh Any Risk

In unusual cases, a pet’s microchip may migrate from its original location and be difficult to locate. Although there’s no guarantee that every shelter or clinic will be able to read your pet’s chip, the risk of this happening is getting lower all the time due to advancements in technology.

Universal chip readers are also becoming widely available to solve the issue of varying microchip frequencies, as well. Rest assured that shelters and clinics are very aware of pet parents’ concerns about missing an implanted chip, and they’re very conscientious about doing everything they can to detect a microchip in a lost or injured pet.

There are very few side effects associated with pet microchipping. Hair loss, swelling, infection, and tumor formation have been reported, but these cases are extremely rare.

There is a rumor that microchips cause cancer, but this is likely to be more myth than fact. There have been no proven cases of cancer linked directly to a microchip. The chances of your pet developing cancer from its microchip are very low, perhaps even non-existent.

The Bottom Line

Microchipping your pet is the absolute best way to ensure you will be reunited with your pet should you ever become separated.  Until Peeva came along, Microchipping had a success rate of only 50%. Peeva ensures any pet that is registered in our system will eventuall be found as we make scanning part of the standard procedure for every vet hospital, shelter, and rescue organization that joins our network. Now they can access a pet’s complete life history by simply scanning a microchip while instantly notifying the pet owner of the exact location details at the exact second the pet is scanned. There is no need for any of our veterinary or shelter end users to search through multiple registries until a match is found and there is no need to make a single phone call as Peeva is fully automated. We also make our API avaliable to other legit registries that are actively searched to ensure every pet that is registered with Peeva can be found by anyone that has yet to join our expansive network. There’s very little risk for so much benefit, and it’s very affordable, If your pet isn’t microchipped, give your vet a call today and make an appointment. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did!

About the Author

Nicole McCray

Nicole is a die-hard animal lover who has worked in pet care for years. She is a former vet technician, a dog mom to her two rescue pups, and she grew up living and working at her family’s pet boarding facility. She loves using her writing talents to share the insight she’s learned throughout her career in the hopes that her knowledge can help other pet parents out there!

Please check out her website by clicking here.

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