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May is the “chip your pet month” and it’s the one month of the year that all pet owners can set aside to chip their pets. The startling fact is that too many dogs and cats get lost and the numbers are rising.
The American Humane Association AAH estimates that 1 in every 3 pets may get stolen or lost at least once in their lifetime.
This can be extremely upsetting for any pet owner as finding a lost pet or even trying to retrieve a stolen pet is difficult to do. Getting your pet chipped is a great way to increase the likelihood of finding a lost pet and will improve the chances of you being reunited with your furry friend as quickly as possible.
It can be a complicated and costly procedure to find a lost pet so may people argue that microchipping your pet should always be considered as a cost-effective way to keep your pet safe.
Remember, many pets get lost by mistake so getting your pet chipped is a safe and humane way to keep track of them and if the worse happens you have a viable way to keep track your pet, which is always recommended for peace of mind.
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What Is Pet Microchipping?
A microchip is a very small computer chip that your vet will surgically implant into your pet. This usually goes beneath the skin and your vet will generally choose between the shoulder blades as the safest and best receptive part of your pet’s body.
This microchip is very small, usually about the size of one grain of rice, and your pet will not feel it at all. Each microchip has a unique number that tracks it back to your pet. If they get lost or stolen then once they are found any veterinary hospital or animal shelter will easily be able to read the microchip and track the pet back to you.
The best part is that there is no surgery involved in the entire microchipping process. As the microchip can be detected from beneath the skin with a special machine your pet will not need to go under the knife. This means all that needs to be done is a quick scan from above your dog or cat’s shoulders and the microchip will feedback data about your pet and crucially the details about you.
This is a smart and safe way to safeguard yourself and ensures that whoever finds your pet will be able to take them to their nearest vet or animal shelter and the tag will do the rest.
Is Microchipping Permanent?
Usually, 1 microchip will last the entire duration of your pet’s life. This means it’s a permanent way to track your pet wherever you move to or whatever happens to them. This makes it a cost-effective way to keep them safe and your mind at ease.
It’s important to always keep your information updated on the pet registry to ensure a smooth process. If you don’t, you could be left in the situation of the animal shelter or rescue vet having the wrong contact information. This will slow down the reconnection process.
It’s advisable to have your vet check the position and functionality of the microchip at least once per year. A chip cannot get lost but it’s important to make sure it’s still sending and receiving signals and hasn’t moved or become lodged anywhere. Your vet will be able to do this simply by checking using a device above your pet’s skin. It’s a painless and very quick process.
Remember to ask about it in your routine annual pet checkup.
How New Is Pet Microchipping?
Microchipping your pet is not a new safety feature and has been very common to most states in the USA for many years.
It was generally seen of as a last resort for very active pets who tended to go wandering all the time but with costs being more manageable and pet owners wanting more peace of mind microchipping your pet has become more to routine.
The best part is the microchip process itself, is that it’s very small so it doesn’t affect your pet’s daily routine and it can hold a vast amount of information including allergies, vet history and other critical pet information. As each microchip is unique and the database is unlimited your pet will always keep the same identity number meaning they will only ever have to get microchipped once for their life.
Importantly, the procedure is painless and doesn’t require any huge surgical instruments. This means it’s much more affordable and manageable for you as a pet owner. With rising costs of food and pet accessories, this is a one-off cost that won’t break the bank.
The process is a lot like getting a vaccination and mot cats and dogs (or other pets) won’t even realise that it’s there.
How Much Does Microchipping Cost?
A Normal microchipping procedure will cost between $20 – $50 and can be done when your dog/cat is still young or when they are older. Importantly many animal rescue homes and shelters will include the cost of microchipping into any adoption or pet fees so if you decide to find your perfect pet with them it will already be chipped.
Similarly, other veterinarians may have reduced rates for microchipping as part of a bulk discount for getting other procedures done at the same time.
These can include:
- Your pet being Neutered
- Your pet being spayed
- Other procedures that require anaesthesia (For example Dental Hygiene)
This makes it very affordable and gives you the option to add it into your budget with other important health checkups and duties.
Note, there is a small fee you will have to pay to register your information on the pet database. This is very small and is worth every cent as it’s the only way your pet can be traced back to you. It is also the place you update your contact information so it’s generally just an admin fee.
What Are The Risks Of Microchipping?
Overall there are not many risks to getting your pet chipped. The only small downside for any pet owner that decides to chip their pet is the microchip reader itself.
For your pet to be identified the microchip will need to be read with a specific type of reader. This reader is not readily available to every animal organisation. This means that some rescuers will not have access to the reader, meaning they will not be able to trace the pet back to you.
On the plus side, however, all animal shelters and veterinarians are given the microchip reader, either for free or for a several reduce cost, so most will have it already.
It’s just important to note that it’s not universally supplied to everyone so there could be an occasion that your pet goes missing and is found by an organisation or centre that doesn’t have a reader. When this usually happens most organisations will just pass your pet on to a more qualified pet rescue centre who will be able to read and reunite your pet with you.
We recommend, in addition to microchipping, that you keep dog or cat collars (pet collars) with their own ID tags. This will help identify your pet without the need for a microchip or person that is not familiar with the microchipping process.
Remember, your microchip will come with a collar which will include a number for anyone that finds it. This will help the rescue process and is included in the microchipping fee.
Always Contact Your Local VET
It’s also important that you contact your local vet or animal shelter the moment you realise your pet is lost (or has been stolen)
The faster you do this the better, as they will send out alerts to other animal shelters, clinics and other members of the animal organisation that will help you locate your pet faster.
This alert will simply note the type, location and other important missing information and alert all necessary organisations that they should keep an eye out. Some local organisations will also put out posters around your local area on your behalf around, which facilitates the rescue process further and helps out with your peace of mind. If a pet comes in that meets that description they can instantly check the alerts and contact you directly.
Overall having a small microchip inside your pet is a fantastic way to keep track of your pet and provides, for a small fee, peace of mind just in case anything goes wrong.
To get more information on microchipping your pet speak to your local veterinarian or animal rescue centre.
Hey, I’m Amy and I’m in love with my Pets! I have a diverse variety, including 2 cats, 1 dog, 3 rabbits, 2 guinea pigs, a rat and a beautiful macaw. I love writing about everything pet-related and spend as much time as I can sharing my personal experiences.