There are many important decisions you will make as a pet parent. Microchipping your pet may be a no-brainer for some, but is it necessary for everyone? How exactly can microchipping benefit your fur-baby? Get all of your microchipping questions answered here!       

What is a microchip? 

A microchip is a tiny device (about the size of a singular grain of rice!) that has a unique identification number inside of the chip. This number connects to information stored in an online database – usually the pet’s name, owner’s name, address, and phone number. A microchip is typically inserted in the subcutaneous tissue between the shoulder blades (behind the scruff) of an animal. Inserting a microchip is quick and painless.        

Microchipping your pet is highly recommended by veterinarians because it provides a form of permanent identification. While collars and tags are important to help identify a pet, these can be removed, lost, or broken. At JM Pet Resort, we advise having your pet wear a collar with ID tags and microchipping them! Multiple ways to identify your animal yield better results, thus eliminating numerous safety concerns. For example, a collar can be chewed off or loosened to the point that your pet can slip out of it – a microchip is a great second layer of safety in that instance.       

How does a microchip work?

A microchip does not tell the exact location of a pet, since it uses radio frequency identification (RFID) and not a global positioning system (GPS). Instead, a unique identification number is given to your cat or dog when they are microchipped. You can then register that number with your information (name, pet’s name, address, phone). The information is stored separately in a database, and the microchip itself only contains the identification number.       

The RFID on a microchip is passive and cannot transmit information through it. Microchips can only be read through a microchip scanner. Previously, only certain types of scanners could read specific microchips. Now, veterinarians are able to search for any microchip by passing the microchip scanner over the animal and reading the identification number. This means if your pet gets lost, any veterinarian can easily scan the back of your pet’s neck, and pull up your contact information within moments!       

Why microchip your pet? 

According to the Animal Humane Society, one in three pets will go missing in their lifetime. Microchips provide an extra layer of safety and peace of mind for you as a pet parent, so that in the event your pet ever does get lost (and loses their collar or tags) you are far more likely to be reunited!       

Sometimes, when pets experience stress, their natural instinct causes a fight or flight response, causing them to stray or run off. Worried about your kitty running away? The good news is you can minimize the likelihood of them getting lost with these safety tips. No matter where your pet is found, a veterinary clinic or animal control officer would be able to pull up the information registered under the chip number and contact you.       

How to get a microchip

It’s easy to get a microchip! Most veterinary clinics offer microchipping as a service. Call our team at JM Pet Vet Clinic to make an appointment to microchip your pet. We are here to answer any questions you may have.        

After the microchip is inserted, you must register the pet’s microchip to link your information with your pet. Your veterinarian will provide you with instructions for the database linked to your pet’s chip, and you can go online yourself to fill in your own information.       

If you adopt a pet through a shelter or rescue, it’s likely they are already microchipped. Speak with the shelter or rescue to find out. If you’re unsure, your veterinarian can scan your pet for the microchip number. Once you have that number, you can register or update the existing information on the chip.        

When is a microchip number accessed? 

A microchip number is accessed when an animal is brought to a facility where the microchip can be scanned. If an animal isn’t brought to animal control or a veterinarian to have their chip scanned, there’s no way to locate the chip. This is why we recommend your pet always wears a collar with up-to-date identification tags, even if they are also microchipped. If they ever get lost, an ID tag is easy for anyone to read.       

How to check or update your pet’s microchip information

Many pet owners know that their dog or cat has a microchip (perhaps from their rescue organization!), but aren’t sure what information is recorded or where to find it. Scanning a microchip is something most veterinary offices can do for you easily, to tell you the identification number of your pet. From there, you can look up your pet’s number to see what contact information is stored and update it if needed.        

If you’re wondering about your pet’s chip, JM Pet Vet Clinic can help!       

Call us at 508-588-5661 for more information, or ask us to scan your pet’s microchip during your next vet visit.