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Microchipping Your Pet for their Safety

May 9, 2022Pet Health

Over 10 million dogs and cats get lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. One in three pets will become lost at some point in their life. Microchipping your pet makes it much more likely that your pet will be returned to you if your pet gets lost.

Pets have their ways of slipping out of the house or your yard, especially when they are frightened, such as during storms or fireworks. Also, there are instances when people have traveled that their pets have slipped away from them. Not being familiar with their surroundings, the pet can easily get lost.

What are Microchips?

A microchip is a small electronic chip about the same size as a grain of rice. The microchip itself does not have a battery, but you activate it by passing a scanner over the area, and the scanner’s radio waves activate the chip. The chip transmits the identification number to the scanner, displaying the number on the screen.

When your pet first gets a microchip, you will register its unique number in a microchip registry and fill out your contact information.

Why Microchipping Helps Safeguard Your Pet

A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, which included 53 animal shelters across the U.S., confirmed the high rate of return of microchipped dogs and cats to their families and the importance of microchip registration.

If you lose your pet, your pet will likely end up in an animal shelter or veterinary clinic. One of the first things that a shelter or clinic will do is check for a microchip. If they have one, and you have linked the microchip to your information, they will call you and reunite you with your loved one.

While ID tags are another great way to identify your pet, they can come off, or someone can remove them, and no one will be able to determine who the owner of the pet is if the pet is not microchipped. Getting your pet both a microchip and ID tag further increases the odds you will be able to find your lost pet.

What Microchips Are Not

Microchips are great; however, it’s still important to know that they do not handle everything.

Microchips are not GPS devices. They will not show you your pet’s location. When scanned using an appropriate instrument in a shelter or clinic, they only give your contact information.

The Microchipping Procedure

A microchip is injected under the skin using a hypodermic needle. While it is a larger needle, it is no more painful than a typical injection. We can implant a microchip during a routine veterinary office visit without needing surgery or any anesthesia.

If your pet is already under anesthesia for a procedure, such as neutering or spaying, we can implant the microchip while they are still under the anesthesia.

Can a Microchip Harm My Pet?

Veterinarians have done over 4 million microchip procedures, and less than 400 recorded adverse reactions. Most of those reactions were the microchip shifting to a different body part. Out of those 400 adverse reactions, there were a few infections, hair loss, and swelling cases, but the majority were minor. So, the chance of a microchip harming your pet is extremely low, and the benefits of having your pet microchipped far outweigh the slight possibility of any adverse reaction.


We know how devastating it is when a pet goes missing and can’t be found. We want to help you avoid ever having to deal with that situation! Let us know if you have any questions, and please contact us if you need to schedule bringing your pet in for a microchip.


Dr. Ashley Tuma

Pine Creek Animal Hospital