A microchip is about the size of a large grain of rice. It consists of a tiny computer chip housed in a type of glass made to be compatible with living tissue. The microchip is implanted between the pet’s shoulder blades under the skin with a needle and special syringe. The process is similar to getting a shot. Little to no pain is experienced – most pets do not seem to even feel it being implanted. Once in place, the microchip can be detected immediately with a handheld device that uses radio waves to read the chip. This device scans the microchip, and then displays a unique alphanumeric code. Once the microchip is placed, the pet must be registered with the microchip company, usually for a one-time fee. Then, the pet can be traced back to the owner if found.
Things You Should Know
- Microchips are designed to last for the life of a pet. They do not need to be charged or replaced. They are actually powered by the reader itself.
- Some microchips have been known to migrate from the area between the shoulder blades, but the instructions for scanning emphasize the need to scan the pet’s entire body. The newer ones do not migrate.
- A microchipped pet can be easily identified if found by a shelter or veterinary office in possession of a scanner. However, some shelters and veterinary offices do not have scanners. The Critters Club does.
- No method of identification is perfect. The best thing you can do to protect your pet is to be a responsible owner. Keep current identification tags on your pet at all times, consider microchipping as reinforcement, and never allow your pet to roam free. If your pet does become lost, more identification can increase the odds of finding your beloved companion.
- Tags also are very important. Make sure they are current and readable as the letters can get worn off in time. Most people will approach a stray or lost pet with a collar and tags as they feel it is someone’s pet and not just a stray or wild animal.