The Basics of Microchipping

You’ve probably heard of microchips—they’re the new alternative to the classic ID tags on your pet’s collar, and also work great as a supplement to those standard identification methods. A Cambrian veterinarian answers a few of your most common questions below.

What Exactly is a Microchip?

A microchip is a tiny computer chip, usually about the size of a grain of rice. Information is implanted electronically in the chip—this includes your personal identification information like address and phone number, as well as information about your pet himself. The chip is inserted under the first few layers of skin, usually between the shoulder blades. When your pet runs away or gets lost, veterinarians or animal shelters can scan your pet and see the information.

Why Should I Get My Pet Microchipped?

Microchips have several benefits. For one, your pet is constantly carrying around your contact information, so the chances of him getting returned quickly and safely to you are greatly increased. What’s more, microchips are easier to update than ID tags—simply contact the chip company and have them update the information. It will be changed without having to take the chip out of your pet!

What’s the Matter with ID Tags?

Nothing is wrong with ID tags, but microchips may have several advantages over them. For one, a pet can’t remove it, as he might be able to chew through a collar or get it snagged on something. For another, microchips keep your personal information far more secure. An ID tag lists the information where anyone who finds your pet can see it, but a microchip keeps the information secured until it’s seen by a veterinary professional.

Will Microchipping Hurt My Pet?

The microchip is inserted under your pet’s skin using a needle—the only discomfort your pet should feel is a slight pinch, just like a normal shot. In rare cases, pets develop reactions or irritations around the site of insertion, but these are easily treated with medications.

Call your Cambrian vet’s office to ask more questions about microchips, and research microchip companies to discover how much it might cost to get your pet outfitted with one.