Since June is National Microchipping Month, I thought a little blog with details about the microchip would be a pretty good idea. Microchips are a wonderful invention that help out hundreds of thousands of lost pets every year.
First, the specifics. A microchip is a small (about the size of a grain of rice) chip that goes underneath the skin of many different kinds of pets (dogs, cats, ferrets, some birds etc) as an identification device. Most times, it can be applied without any type of sedation or anesthesia but it is common to have it placed when the pet is spayed/neutered. It is not a GPS system! This is one misconception I am confronted with.
Most clinics and shelters have microchip scanners. Most scanners are going to pick up the signal from a variety of chips. However, one size doesn’t always fit all. The chips emit different frequencies and the scanners pick up different frequencies. They aren’t full-proof. But they are cheap enough so that investing in one greatly increases your chances of finding your pet should they become lost.
– Microchips are affordable! They run between $50-$60 and in most cases don’t require any yearly operating costs.*
– Microchips can migrate, a properly scanned pet is scanned not only around the shoulder blades, but also down both legs and around the neck area.
– Microchips are useless unless you register them. Keep the information updated! If you move, change your phone number, adopt a pet or anything else…update this information with the microchip company. Most information is managed online now, so it is fairly user-friendly.
– Look up your microchip company to see what benefits they offer with the purchase of their microchip. Sometimes you’ll be surprised with what kind of benefits they have. An example of this is: At Home Again, for your monthly membership fee if your pet gets lost greater than 500 miles from home, they help cover up to $500 for the trip home. Different companies could have different benefits.
– Make sure you have your pet’s microchip number written down in their home medical record. This number will come in handy if you ever need to lose it. It is also a good idea to have your veterinarian scan your pet once per year to ensure that the microchip is reading accurately and to assess any movement.
End thoughts? I’ve seen many pets reunited with their owners because of a microchip. It might also change the decision of a Good Samaritan who finds your pet if they take it somewhere and find out it has a microchip versus thinking it is just a stray pet (also have experience with this).
*Home Again Microchips do have a yearly program that you can participate in. If you decide to opt out, the microchip still works and your pet is still registered with them, you just aren’t privy to their “extra services.”
If you’ve got any questions about Home Again microchips (I’ve got a lot of experience with this company and like dealing with them), here is their website http://public.homeagain.com/. Also, follow them on twitter @hapetrescuers.