Even the most responsible owners can get separated from their pets: a door or gate or window left open for just a moment can lead to hours, days, or weeks of worry. As many as one in three pets get separated from their owners at some point in their lives.
Unlike a tag or collar that can be broken or lost, a microchip carrying your contact information and placed just below your pet’s skin is safe, permanent, and can’t be tampered with.
In dogs and cats, the chip is usually placed between the shoulder blades. The chip is coated in a substance that will cause the animal’s body to bind with it, so it won’t move no matter how active your pet may be. If you expect your pet will struggle during the implantation, you may want to consider anesthesia, but they will only feel a small pinch.
When Can My Pet Get a Microchip?
Depending upon the size of the animal, they can be microchipped as young as six to eight weeks old; consult with the Paw Patch team on timing. Adults can be done at any time.
If your pet is unchipped and due for other surgery, like a spay/neuter, you can have the microchip implanted during that surgery, while your animal is still under anesthesia, to save you an extra trip to the office and therefore time and money.
Registering Your Pet’s Chip
Once the chip is implanted, you can register it online with your contact information, so that if your pet is found by a shelter or vet with a chip reader, you’ll be called and quickly reunited with your pet. Registration takes only a few minutes and can be easily updated if you move.
Many rescues and shelters, as well as professional breeders, routinely chip the animals before they adopt them out. If you are not sure if your new pet is chipped, your vet can scan for a chip.
If they have one, you can transfer the registration from the rescue or breeder to yourself.
Are There Risks?
Yes, there are some risks, but the chances of the microchip causing a problem are very, very small.
- Infection. The veterinarian will insert a properly sterilized needle in the site. That means changes of infection are extremely slim.
- Migration. There have been reports of chips migrating to other parts of the body. That won’t hurt your animal, but the scanner may not find the chip unless they scan the whole body.
- Cancer. In extremely rare cases (one in one million, according to one study), develop cancer at the implant site.
- Allergic Reactions. Rare complications include allergic reactions to the coating on the chip.
- Migration. There have been reports of chips migrating to other parts of the body. That won’t hurt your animal, but the scanner may not find the chip unless they scan the whole body. This is something that is well-known in the veterinary and shelter/rescue communities so we generally scan the entire body to make sure we aren’t missing a potential chip.
According To The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), studies have shown that the benefits of microchipping far outweigh the risks. One study found:
- Less than 2% of lost cats that were not chipped, found their way home. Likewise, cats that were chipped were reunited with their owners 38.5% of the time.
- For dogs, 21.9% of non-chipped dogs got home compared to 52.2% of chipped pooches.
Losing a pet is a heartbreaking experience, one no veterinarian wants to see their clients go through. If you’d like to discuss microchipping with a vet, give us a call.