Pet microchipping is strongly recommended by all vets. But what is it, and what’s involved? Let’s find out.
A pet microchip is a tiny capsule that contains a radio-frequency identification transponder. It’s about the size of a grain of rice and injected into the skin, usually at the base of your pet’s neck, although depending on the type of animal you have, this isn’t always possible. It doesn’t hurt any more than getting a vaccination would.
Microchips don’t require a battery or a power source, so never need to be replaced. When an animal is recovered, a scanner is passed over their body to see if they are microchipped. If they are, the transponder will send the identification number to the scanner, along with the details of who the microchip is registered to. This enables the person scanning them to contact the animal’s owner and reunite them.
Here are the top 5 reasons why you should have your pet microchipped.
Unlike collars and tags, microchips can’t be lost or broken. They also can’t be removed without the aid of a professional vet. This means you don’t need to worry about them slipping their collar or their ID tag falling off, you can still be contacted. Nevertheless, many owners choose to double up with these items anyway, as they can provide a quick reference with who to call and can save a finder from taking your pet to a vet to be scanned.
One of the most common misconceptions about microchipping is that the chips contain a GPS tracker. While this isn’t the case, they are still the most reliable tool for reuniting lost pets and their owners. Studies suggest that lost pets who have microchips are up to 20% more likely to be reunited with their humans.
You could be forgiven for thinking that microchipping your pet is out of your budget, but the reality is that it’s inexpensive. Depending on which provider your vet uses, you could get your pet chipped for an average of $50. Sometimes there are even schemes and offers whereby you can get them microchipped for a lot less. And since it’s permanent once you’ve covered the cost, you won’t ever have to pay out for it again.
Unfortunately, pet theft is a common problem, particularly among cats and dogs, and certain exotic breeds. Microchipped animals are harder to sell on, so having signs and collars stating that your pet is chipped could be a deterrent to potential thieves.
If you relocate or change your cell number, you’ll need to let your microchip provider know so that you can still be contacted if your pet becomes lost/stolen and is recovered. Fortunately, this is usually very easy and rarely incurs any additional cost.