Microchipping 101

18 Jul Microchipping 101

Although we try our hardest to keep our animals from running away from our homes, sometimes the thrill of a squirrel running around the tree or ducks waddling around the pond prove too much of a distraction for our pets, and their natural instincts kick in. Ready, set, run! And so the chase begins! Whether the chase was successful or perhaps it’s better luck next time, our pets are too busy focusing on the thrill of the hunt, and they may have travelled too far from home to find their way back. What is there best chance of getting home? Microchipping can be the best way to get your pet home safely!

What is Microchipping and how does it help to find my pet?

You may have heard of something called “microchipping” the last time you took your pet to the veterinarian. Microchipping is the process of inserting a small electronic chip, roughly the size of a grain of rice, just under your pets’ skin on their back, between the shoulder blades. When a microchip scanner is held over the chip, the scanner emits radiowaves that activate the microchip. The scanner can then read the microchip’s identification number that is associated with the pet owner’s contact information. If the pet owner’s contact information is kept accurate and up to date, the shelter or veterinarian can contact the owner and reunite them with their pet!

So it is like a GPS?

NO, a microchip is not the same as a GPS. The microchip must be scanned by a microchip scanner to identify the pet’s identification number, and ultimately access the owner’s contact information in the database. Microchips cannot be accessed remotely, and do not emit a signal without being activated or read by the microchip scanner.

I am worried about hurting my pet since the needle looks big, how much does it hurt?

The needle used to inject a microchip is a hypodermic needle, which is a little larger than a normal needle. The microchip is injected under the skin, so the procedure is similar to other routine injections, like vaccinations.

Where can my pet get microchipped?

If you have adopted your pet, many of them will already have been microchipped by the shelter, but make sure you ask to be sure. Your local veterinarian can microchip your pet in a quick office visit, or if they are anesthetized for a procedure. Anesthesia or sedation is not required. Some shelters will also host microchip events as well.

Wow, this microchip sounds great! I bet it’s expensive…

FALSE! Depending on where you live and what clinic or shelter you receive your microchip from, the cost is normally only $20-$50. Multiple companies offer different microchips, so prices will vary, and some may charge a fee for updating contact information. For being a permanent way of identifying your pet, microchipping is incredibly affordable!

Now that my pet is microchipped, they don’t need a collar right?

WRONG! A physical collar and tags are still the best way to identify an animal since they can be read by anyone, anytime. The microchip requires someone to physically scan it with a microchip scanner to get the pet’s identification number. But sometimes collars may come off and tags may get scratched up, so a microchip is a good back up and permanent identification for your pet that cannot be tampered with or damaged.


The next time your pet gets caught up in the chase, you can worry less knowing that there is a permanent, easy way of identifying him in case worst comes to worst and he cannot make his way back home. Microchipping your pet greatly increases your pet’s chances of being returned home safely. Do yourself and your furry friend a favor, and make his trip home easier!


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