Planned PEThood Blog

Microchipping: What It Is and Why You Should Do It

Pets are a part of the family. If something were to separate them from you – a door is left open, your dog slips out of its collar, or your cat takes an unapproved field trip without you – you’d want a way to reunite with them as quickly as possible, right? Microchipping is a safe, easy, and inexpensive way to significantly increase the chances of your pet’s reunion should the unthinkable happen.

1 in 3 pets will become lost at some point in their lifetime. Tragically, many of these pets may not ever find their way home without a little help. A microchip can mean the difference between being reunited with your furry friend and never seeing them again. We occasionally see cats brought into our Spay/Neuter clinic for our TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) services that are thought to be stray cats. That doesn’t always end up being the case. Sometimes these “stray” cats are actually missing pets and because of their microchip, we are able to reunite them with their owner, like in Cali’s story. We wouldn’t be able to have these happy reunions without microchips. 

Did You Know? 

Here are some disturbing, but true facts about lost animals:

  • Dogs without microchips are reunited with their owners only 2.2% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs are returned 52.2% of the time.
  • Cats without microchips are reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats make it back home 38.5% of the time.
  • Microchipped pets are over 20 times more likely to be reunited with their families, making microchipping extremely worthwhile.
  • 1 in 3 pets will become lost at some point in their lifetime.

How Microchips Work

A microchip is a tiny electronic chip, about the size of a grain of rice, that is injected under your pet’s skin, typically between the shoulders. The procedure only takes a few seconds. While it’s not entirely painless, it doesn’t hurt any more than getting a vaccine. The microchip is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area. Each microchip has an identification number. When the microchip is scanned by a vet or shelter, it transmits this number. Animal shelters and veterinary clinics scan a pet’s microchip to get this identification number, then contact the registry to find contact information for the owners. The microchip is NOT a GPS device and cannot track your animal if they get lost. 

Importance of Registering Your Information and Keeping It Up to Date

HERE’S THE CATCH – the unique identification number doesn’t do any good UNLESS you register it with a National Pet Recovering Database. When you register your pet’s microchip, you should enter all relevant contact information. Remember to keep your contact information up-to-date! A microchip greatly increases the chances of your pet being reunited with you if they get lost, BUT, only if your information is up to date! Not sure which company to call? Type in your pet’s chip number in microchiplookup.org Can’t find your pet’s chip number? Come by our clinic or any clinic and just ask them to check it for you. As long as you don’t mind waiting a bit, practically every clinic will do this as a free service for you. 

Where to Get Microchips

Planned PEThood offers microchips through our Spay/Neuter Clinic and our Wellness Clinic for only $25 and that includes registration. Most other veterinary clinics offer this service as well, ranging from $25-$75. 

Another great resource to help find your pet is Petco Love Lost. Petco Love Lost helps reunite lost pets with their families. Simply enter a photo of your missing pet and search their national lost and found database to find them. Learn more about Petco Love Lost.