How do Microchips Work in Pets?

Becoming separated from our pet because they have become lost or have been stolen is every owner’s worst nightmare. Despite our best efforts to keep our animals safe, there are still occasions whereby our cat doesn’t come home, or our dog escapes our yard or slips the leash and runs off when we are out for a walk. While you will inevitably do everything that you can to get your pet safely home, there is no getting away from the fact that countless pets do go missing every year and sadly, not all of them manage to be reunited with their families. However, there is a service that can significantly improve your chances of finding your pet in the sad event that he does become lost – microchipping.

What is pet microchipping?

Pet microchipping is a minimally-invasive procedure that sees a microchip contained within a capsule inserted under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades where it remains for the duration of his life. This microchip contains just one piece of information – a unique reference number that relates to an entry on the microchip provider’s database that contains your contact information.

How do pet microchips work?

Each microchip lays dormant until it comes into close proximity to a scanner. The radiowaves from the scanner cause it to emit a signal that appears on the scanner’s screen as your unique database ID, as well as details of the microchip provider. This enables the veterinary office or shelter scanning your pet to contact the chip provider to obtain your details. Don’t worry – there are safeguarding measures put into place that prevent Joe Public from calling up and finding out your personal information.

What information needs to go on the database and is it secure?

Most microchip providers let you decide exactly how much information you place on the database. These databases are very secure, with providers investing heavily in their cyber security. However, if you only wanted to share your name and contact telephone numbers then this is entirely possible. Nevertheless, when it comes to collecting your pet and proving ownership, sometimes it is helpful to have a little more information given to the chip provider.

Is pet microchipping safe?

Understandably, many owners who have not come across pet microchipping before have concerns about the safety of the service. However, studies have shown that there is no need to be worried where pet microchipping is concerned. Studies have shown that the risk of your pet developing health problems as a result of having a microchip are exceptionally small and the benefits associated with the procedure far outweigh the very slight risk that it poses to the health of your pet.

Will microchipping my pet hurt him?

No owner likes the thought of putting their pet through a painful procedure. Fortunately, implanting a microchip is virtually identical to a vaccination – it takes just a few seconds, after which your pet will probably be bounding around like nothing has happened. There shouldn’t be any negative effects from the placement of the microchip and you will be able to go straight home after the procedure.

Does my pet still need a collar and tag?

Yes. Microchipping is a highly effective form of identification for your pet, but it isn’t designed to replace collars and tags. The latter are particularly useful if a local individual finds your pet as they will be able to contact you without needing to take your animal to a boarding facility or veterinarian to be scanned. However, since tags and collars can come off or be tampered with, microchipping is an excellent secondary form of identification.

If you would like to learn more about pet microchipping, or if your pet is currently un-microchipped and you would like to make an appointment for this service, please contact our Penn Valley, CA office where our veterinary team will be happy to assist you.