We encourage all pet owners to consider microchipping their pets. "Chipped" pets have a better chance of being returned to the rightful owner if they are found. All veterinary clinics and shelters have microchip scanners.
Some misconceptions about microchips:
1. Microchips have GPS and can be used to track a missing pet.
This is FALSE. A GPS device needs a power source (battery). A microchip is the size of a grain of rice, and has no power source of its own. You cannot track a lost pet with a microchip.
2. Microchips hold all of your pet's medical information.
Also FALSE. You can't record anything on the microchip. It only has one function.
3. Microchips are dangerous.
FALSE. Microchips don't emit radiation or electricity or anything else dangerous. They are not toxic. There have been two reports of microchips associated with tumors in cats. There have been millions of microchips implanted in pets worldwide. Your pet is statistically more likely to be killed by an alligator than to have a problem with a microchip.
So why do we want a microchip, then? I thought it was going to be cool.
The one and ONLY function of a microchip is to hold a unique 15-digit number that will forever be associated with your pet. That's it. It just sits there being all smooth and boring in the fat under the skin between the shoulders. Until, that is, a scanner is passed over it. When a scanner "interrogates" it the microchip emits a radio wave that the scanner converts to a number and displays on its surface. That's literally all it does.
This identifying number is registered in a database by you or your vet when the microchip is implanted. You provide some contact information to the registry (there are several) and they keep the information for the lifetime of your pet.
If, at any time, your pet is lost and a vet, rescue, shelter, or animal control facility scans the chip, they will find your pet's number. They then search the online registry and can contact you through the information (phone number, name, location) that you provided to the registry.
Another important reason for microchipping is that an ISO microchip (the 15-digit standard chip that we use in Canada) is required in order to take your pet to a number of countries or regions. Going to the USA is fine without a chip, but of you want to take your pet with you to the EU, Australia, Japan, China, or one of many other places, they'll need to be chipped. In some cases, they must be chipped before having a require rabies vaccine.
Once your pet is chipped, make sure that you know which registry they are with and update your contact information if you move or get a new cell number. If the information is outdated, it will be hard for a finder to contact you. Make it as easy as possible for anyone who finds your pet to return it to you.
When can I get my pet microchipped?
Any time! Breeders often microchip puppies when they are very young. We will microchip any pet on request (we will scan them first to make sure there isn't already a chip present). We frequently implant microchips when a pet is under anesthetic for spaying or neutering, but it can be done any time.
How do you do it? It sounds complicated.
Nope. The chip comes from the manufacturer inside the tip of its own hypodermic needle. The chip is "injected" under the skin over the shoulders. The needle is larger than the ones we use for vaccines, but it's not super painful by any means. Most puppies that we chip are easily distracted from the procedure with tasty treats. Cats have lots of loose skin, and are usually quite amenable to the procedure, too. It's not traumatic or dramatic, except for the visual size of the needle. It looks much worse than it is in reality.
Sign me up!
Excellent decision. Just let us know next time you are in that you'd like a microchip, and we'll get it done.