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Microchipping Your Pet

By Colleen Williams
February 28, 2012 • 2 min. read
Veterinarian checking microchip

In an era of itsy-bitsy technology, microchips seem like a futuristic device you would see in a sci-fi movie. Instead, these real-life tiny chips are implanted under your pet’s skin in a virtually painless procedure. In the event of an emergency, the microchip can reveal your pet’s identity. Read on to discover how and why you should microchip your pet.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a grain of rice-sized electronic chip that holds an identification number. It is implanted under your pet’s skin using a needle, and emits radio waves that can be scanned to read the device.

How is it implanted?

A hypodermic needle injects the microchip under the skin. The procedure is just as painful as a routine shot. Microchip implantation can be done by a veterinarian; animal shelters often provide the service when you adopt a pet.

Where can I get the procedure done?

Veterinary clinics are the number one place to have a microchip implanted. Animal shelters often hold events where you can have your pet microchipped for free or at a minimal cost. If you adopted your dog or cat from a shelter, odds are they already have a microchip; check your adoption papers before scheduling with your vet.

What is the purpose of a microchip?

Identification. When the chip is scanned, a unique ID number registers within a national database, displaying your pet’s name and home address. If your cat or dog has a serious health condition, this information is displayed as well, helping shelters and clinics provide emergency care for your pet. On the run pets often lose their collars and ID tags; the microchip is a fail-safe way to identify your pet.

Are there any health risks?

Improperly implanted microchips can sometimes migrate or become infected, but these risks are virtually eliminated if the procedure is done by a licensed veterinarian or clinic. There have been rumors microchips can lead to cancerous tumors in dogs, but there has only been one confirmed case, and the risks are minuscule.

Microchipping your pet greatly increases the odds that he or she will be returned home after an escape attempt. Implantation of the chip is virtually painless, and there are minimal health risks if the implantation procedure is done correctly. Ask your vet about microchipping your pet today!

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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