Why You Should Microchip Your Pet

Written by Small Door's medical experts

You can think of a microchip as your pet’s form of identification. Microchipping your pet vastly increases the likelihood of reuniting with them when lost, as collars and ID tags are not foolproof. However, what many owners don’t know is that it’s equally important to make sure the microchip record is kept up to date with your current contact information.

What is a pet microchip?

Your pet’s microchip is a very small chip (roughly the size of a grain of rice) with a unique identification sequence. It’s injected under your pet’s skin, and when scanned by a vet or shelter, the microchip transmits the unique number series. Once it’s registered, this number will be connected to your contact information.

Why should my pet get a microchip?

Unlike tags on your pet’s collar, a microchip cannot get lost as it is implanted under your pet’s skin. It’s important to note that your pet’s microchip does not have tracking or GPS functionality. It can’t track your pet’s location, but when registered with your contact information, it can reunite you with your lost pet.

Not sure if your pet has a microchip already? Ask your veterinarian to scan for it!

Other benefits of microchips

As technology has advanced, a variety of products designed to work alongside microchips. For example, certain dog doors can be programmed to open only when your pet’s microchip is approaching, which can help to keep out wildlife or strays.

For those in a multi-pet household, automatic feeders can also be programmed to only release food when a particular pet’s microchip is nearby. This can help to prevent the other pet(s) from stealing food that isn’t theirs.

Some microchip manufacturers also offer other features, such as lost pet alert services.

A microchip greatly increases the chance that your pet will be reunited with you if lost.

How do I register my pet’s microchip?

Your pet’s microchip is only useful if it is registered and linked to your contact information!

If your pet has a microchip but you’re unsure if it’s registered, you can search the microchip number using AAHA’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup. This will tell you the registry that your pet’s microchip is connected to, as well as the last time it was updated.

If your pet’s microchip is not yet registered, you can connect it to any registry as long as you pay their fee. The microchip does not have to be connected to its brand registry, but it often is for simplicity’s sake. For example, if you have a HomeAgain microchip, you can connect it to HomeAgain’s database, or any other online microchip database.

Found Animals is a non-profit database where you can register your pet’s microchip for free.

Does microchipping hurt my pet?

When your pet gets microchipped, it can hurt a little more than routine vaccinations. The chip is typically implanted under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades, and the needle is slightly larger in order to fit the size of the microchip. However, it is a quick process, and your pet does not require anesthesia. We believe the benefits of microchipping far outweigh the temporary discomfort.

When is the best time to microchip my pet?

At Small Door, we tend to microchip puppies and kittens at their 12-week visit, before they get their Rabies vaccine. If you even plan to travel internationally with your pet, they need to be microchipped before, or the same day as, they receive their rabies vaccines.

For pets older than 12 weeks, we recommend microchipping at your first vet visit. This ensures they’re afforded the benefits of microchipping as early as possible. Remember, it’s never too late to microchip! If you have an older pet and you’re unsure whether they’re microchipped, your vet can check and get one inserted at any age.

How long does a microchip last?

Microchips are designed to last the entire lifetime of your pet. As a safety precaution, your vet will usually scan the microchip at their annual visits, to check it’s still working correctly.

However, as your contact information may not stay the same for your pet’s entire life, you should always ensure you update your number and address with the microchip registry whenever it changes.

How much does microchipping cost?

The cost of microchipping can typically be anywhere from $50 to $100. It may vary depending on your location, your veterinary practice and whether they cover the registration fee for you. Some vets may charge for both the implantation and the first year’s registration cost, while others leave that part up to you.

Microchipping at Small Door

At Small Door, we strongly recommend all pets are microchipped, even indoor-only cats. Microchipping is safe, effective, and can save you (and your pet!) a great deal of heartache in the event that they become lost. We cover your pet’s first year of registration to help get you started.

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