Microchips: How They Work & Why Your Pet Should Have One.

Microchipping. It’s an easy way to help identify your pet. So, what exactly is a microchip? It’s a small, rice size electronic chip that gets implanted just below your pet’s skin. Typically, microchips are inserted between the shoulder blades. (Interesting fact: If the chip is inserted poorly, they can “move” in your pet. So, if an animal is ever scanned for a chip, it is best practice to scan the entire body.) The microchip has a unique number associated with it that you as the owner register with your contact information. So, if your pet ever gets loose and isn’t wearing their collar and tags, they can be scanned and identified through the chip.

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All shelters, vets and most pet supply stores have the ability to scan an animal for a microchip. (While we are talking about chips, if you ever find a stray animal always take it to be scanned for a microchip.) Once the animal is scanned, the scanner returns a long series of numbers and indicates which microchip company to contact for the owners information. There are several different microchip companies. They essentially all do the same thing, however, some companies charge a registration fee or a yearly maintenance fee while others do not charge anything. Regardless, of which microchip company your pet’s chip corresponds with, it is  imperative to actually register the chip with your information. It is also important to remember to update the chip information if your contact information changes. When animals are adopted from animal welfare organizations, their chips are pre-registered to the organization. So, as an adopter it’s again very important to take the time to register the microchip with your information. Registration can be done online or through the mail.

There have been many situations in which pets have gotten lost or been stolen and the microchip is what returns the animals to their rightful owner. Microchips can literally save your pets life and reunite you with your best friend. If you are interested in having your pet microchipped, contact your veterinarian or visit Marion County Animal Services to schedule an appointment.