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How do pet microchips work and should my pet have one?

You’ve probably seen posters advertising microchipping when you take your pet to the vets, but how much do you really know about it? Lots of owners still don’t have their pets microchipped, and when asked, many say that they just don’t know enough about it to make that decision for their pet. Nevertheless, pet microchipping does remain one of the most effective ways of attaching identification information to your pet, increasing the likelihood that they will be reunited with you in the event that you become separated. Here’s what you need to know about how pet microchips work and why your pet should have one. 



What are pet microchips and how do they work?

Most people are familiar with microchips, which are tiny electronic chips found in many modern electrical devices. Pet microchips are about the size of a grain of rice, contain no working parts, and don’t require a battery. Instead, they lay dormant and are only activated when they come into close proximity with a radio-frequency scanner, which is routinely used to check pets for microchips. When this happens, the chip emits a signal that is detected by the scanner, and this signal contains a unique reference number and details of who the microchip provider is. This reference number refers to an entry on a secure database, held by the microchip provider, which contains the contact information of the owner of that animal. This enables the person scanning your pet to speak to the microchip provider to either obtain your details to contact you directly or to get them to call you and let you know that your animal has been recovered. 



What is the process for getting a pet microchip?

Pet microchips are usually placed under the skin between the shoulder blades, and this is done using a simple injection. The whole process is over in a matter of seconds and is no different from receiving a vaccination. The process shouldn’t hurt. Once the microchip is placed, it is there for life and won’t ever need to be removed or replaced. 



Why does my pet need to be microchipped?

There are a wide variety of different benefits associated with pet microchipping, giving owners plenty of reasons to get it done. These include:


  • Permanent Identification. Unlike collars and tags which can fall off or be removed, the microchip can’t be lost or tampered with, making it the most reliable way of attaching your contact information to your pet.

  • Microchips can help track down stolen pets. It’s a very sad fact that countless pets get stolen every year, either by opportunists or criminals. However, pets that are microchipped are much more likely to be recovered and returned to their owners, particularly as it can be harder to sell on an animal that is chipped.

  • Pets that are microchipped are more likely to be reunited with their family. Research shows that animals who are microchipped are considerably more likely to be returned to their owners. Exact statistics vary, but one study shows that the return to owner rate for cats is around 20 times higher for microchipped cats, and around 3 times higher for dogs.

  • Your personal information is secure. Everyone is concerned about their personal information getting into the wrong hands. When you microchip your pet, your details aren’t on their collar for everyone to see. Instead, they are kept on a secure database, which can only be accessed by your microchip provider.



For more information about pet microchips, please contact Greenwood Village Veterinary Clinic in Greenwood Village, CO. You can also give us a call at (303) 771- 6304 to schedule an appointment to talk to our veterinary team about microchipping your pet today!

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