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Pet Microchips 101

What you Need to Know about Pet Microchipping

By Ryan Gellis. October 24, 2012 | See Comments

Pet Microchips 101

The facts about microchip ID tags in your pet. Does it pay to get one for your dog or cat?

The year is 2125 –The microchip, a sophisticated, microscopic supercomputer, has merged with all domesticated animals to create all-powerful Pet-Borgs. The humans have been forced underground by the great Feline-Canine War.

Is this fooling anyone? Don’t go wrapping tinfoil around your cat’s ears, the microchip is a simple, low-cost way to ensure peace of mind if your pet is a wanderer. On the global front, local governments in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Ireland began mandating microchips for all dogs. It doesn’t seem so strange after looking at an HSUS report that estimates that about 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized every year in animal shelters, at least some portion believed to be missing pets.

What is a microchip and how does it work?

A Radio Frequency ID (RFID) microchip is a small device about the size of a large grain of rice. The device has no power source so it is only activated when it is scanned. Your vet can quickly inject the microchip into your dog or cat, usually between the shoulder blades. Once your pet is given a chip you have to register that device on a provided website. If your pet is ever lost and ends up in a shelter they will be identified on a database and you will receive a call.

Who is this for?

Well, a microchip certainly comes in handy if you allow your dog off leash or if your dog or cat has access to a backyard or outdoor space. In general, if you are worried about your pet escaping or getting lost this product is for you. But remember that this is NOT a GPS tracker. The chip only works if someone finds your pet and brings them to a location with an RFID scanner. All shelters and veterinary offices are now trained to check for a microchip in stray animals.

Is it safe?

Yes, many veterinary associations support the safety and usefulness of this product. The primary risk is that the chip will cause inflammation, in which case it will have to be removed. In general, the process is relatively painless, doesn’t require anesthesia, and typically lasts for life.

Where can I have my pet chipped?

Almost any local veterinarian can supply your pet with the implant. Some animal shelters also offer the implant procedure, as they are the biggest advocates of scanning chips. Avid, one of the largest producers of pet RFID tags, claims that its microchips help identify as many as 1,400 pets a day.

How much is it?

The cost is set by your vet, but a general range suggested by one of the leading microchip providers is between $25 and $50.

When should my pet get a microchip?

The microchip is safe for animals of all ages. It is becoming more popular to offer the service during your pet’s first round of vaccinations but it is never too late for a little extra security when it comes to your loved ones.

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