A microchip is a small device, about the size of a grain of rice. It can be injected under your pet’s skin around the shoulder blades and cannot be removed without making it unreadable. A unique ID number is contained within the chip to allow your pet to be reunited with you should it get lost. A slightly larger needle than that used during a routine injection is used to implant the microchip. It does not have to be done by a veterinarian, but it is highly recommended to avoid medical complications.
The device does not work as a GPS locator. Your pet cannot be tracked. The purpose of the chip is to allow a pet that is picked up or turned into a shelter to be scanned using the radio transmitter inside the device. The ID is then matched to the owner information using a database. The chip manufacturer keeps the database and does not make it available to anyone without your authorization.
- Animals with microchips are approximately 30% more likely to be reunited with their owners than those without microchips implanted
- Easy to implant
- Products are made that work with the microchip like doggy doors that open and close
- Isn’t easily removed as is the case with dog collars and tags
- No maintenance required
- Lasts your pet’s entire life span
- Reduces pet theft
- International standards exist for both chips and scanners if traveling overseas
- Though rare, medical complications can and do occur
- Not all shelters scan correctly and may miss the chip
- Chips can migrate to other parts of the body
- Not all shelters use a universal scanner, also called forward- and backward-reading scanners. Universal scanners detect all microchip frequencies.
- Chips can fail
- Scanners can fail
- Detection can be made difficult by excessive fat deposits, metal collars, and long matted hair
- Owners must report changes in contact information