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How Microchipping Can Reunite Pets with Their Owners

May 30, 2018
How Microchipping Can Reunite Pets with Their Owners

One of the risks of owning a pet is them running away or getting lost. This can be an incredibly scary time for pet owners as many people consider their pets part of their family. While there are a couple of different ways that pet owners can protect their pets from being lost forever, Linwood Pet Hospital urges all pet owners to consider microchipping their pet.

What Is a Microchip?

A microchip is a small, electronic chip that is enclosed in a tiny glass cylinder that is about the size of a grain of rice. This microchip is given a number that can be put into a system to give information about you and your pet. The information stored in this system should contain your contact information so that you can be notified if your pet is found.

How Does It Work?

Microchips don’t contain batteries. Instead, the chip is activated by a scanner. When a scanner is passed over the area containing the microchip, radio waves from the scanner activate the chip. The chip then transmits a number to the scanner so the person scanning the chip can take the number and put it into a computer system. The computer system then tracks down the account associated with the number.

The information you put in the account is up to you, but it is recommended that you include your pet’s name as well as your name, phone number, and current address. This information will help the shelter or veterinarian with your pet find you. Don’t be concerned about your private information being used, however. The only information the database will store is the information you provide, and it will only be used in the event that your dog or cat is found with the goal of getting your pet safely home to you. This database of information is not available online to the general public.

A common misconception about microchips is that they allow you to track the movements of your cat or dog. This is untrue; a microchip is not a GPS device. Only the information you provide on the database of your chip is known. This does not, however, include fully detailed medical records.

While microchips are extremely helpful in reuniting lost pets with their owners, you should also make sure that your pet has a collar with tags on it. The tags should contain your up-to-date contact information. Since microchips require a special scanner, they should be viewed as secondary to tags. That being said, microchips do make it more likely for pets to be returned to their owners.

A study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters found that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9 percent of the time, while microchipped dogs were returned 52.2 percent of the time. Similarly, cats without microchips were only returned home 1.8 percent of the time, while those with microchips were reunited with their owners 38.5 percent of the time. In the cases where microchipped pets weren’t reunited with their owners, most of the time the information in the system was either incorrect or missing altogether. Be sure that you register your microchip and keep the information up to date.

Getting Your Pet Microchipped

Microchipping pets is really easy, and a quick trip to your veterinarian will give you the peace of mind that your pet will be returned home safely in the event that he or she gets lost. To implant the chip, your veterinarian will use a special needle to inject the microchip right under your pet’s skin. Typically, microchips are implanted between the shoulder blades. Microchip implantation doesn’t require anesthesia, and the injection doesn’t hurt any more than any other injection. However, if your pet is already going to be under anesthesia for another procedure, you could ask your veterinarian to implant it then.

Many pet owners have expressed concerns about microchips migrating throughout their pet’s body. Fortunately, your pet’s subcutaneous tissue typically bonds to the chip within 24 hours of implantation, which prevents the chip from moving in the body. There is, however, a small chance that the chip could migrate to another part of the body, but it can’t get lost.

If you live in Linwood, New Jersey, and your pet hasn’t been microchipped, contact Linwood Pet Hospital today at 609-926-5300. One of our veterinarians can setup your microchip appointment and help you understand everything you want to know about the process. Our pet wellness team can also help guide you in setting up your microchip account in the database.


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