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Demystifying Pet Microchipping: How It Works & What to Expect

Microchipping your pet will greatly increase the odds that they are reunited with you if they ever get lost. In this post, our Carlsbad vets discuss the benefits of microchipping your cat or dog.

Microchipping Your Cat or Dog

There was a time when the only option for identifying a pet was a license tag, which is still an effective way to tell which pet belongs to which family. Unfortunately, tags and collars can fall off (or be removed), making it difficult to find lost or missing pets.

For many years, medical tattoos applied by veterinarians were the solution of choice, but this required the owners to register the tattoo with a national database, different vets tattooed different symbols, and pets with dark skin pigments hardly showed the marks. Enter the microchip!

Microchips are tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips. They are approximately the size of a grain of rice. In pets, they are usually placed under the skin on the back, between the shoulder blades.

The Microchipping Procedure

Microchipping a pet is generally not painful. The procedure is quick and similar to a routine vaccination, with minimal discomfort for your cat or dog. Once implanted, it can provide a permanent form of identification for your pet, helping to increase the chances of being reunited if they ever get lost. 

You will register the chip number with the company that produces the chip so that there will be a way to trace your pet to your household.

Collars & Tags as Alternatives

Collars and tags are also helpful in returning lost pets to their owners. Anyone can read a tag, and call the phone number listed on it to contact the owner. For this reason, your pet should always wear a collar with your name and contact phone number on it.

As mentioned earlier, collars and tags can be easily lost, leaving the pet with no identifying information. Microchips, on the other hand, are permanent and cannot be lost. Provided you keep your registered information up to date, any vet or rescue organization with a microchip scanner will be able to contact you and reunite you with your pet.

Microchips should not be used in place of license tags and collars, as microchips are not externally visible as a signal that your lost pet belongs to a family. Instead, having your pet microchipped and using a tag and collar gives you the best chance of being reunited with your pet if they get lost or become separated from you.

How Microchips Work

Microchips are read using a special scanner, which most veterinarians and shelters have. In the past, different brands of chips required different scanners, but modern universal scanners can read all modern types of chips, regardless of their brand.

When the scanner is passed over the pet's back and sides the microchip will transmit its identification number to the scanner. The rescuer will then contact the national database, which in turn will contact the owner of the pet (that's you!) and take the next steps to reunification with your pooch.

Microchips are not only valuable for returning lost pets but are also very helpful when it comes to proving ownership.

A pet microchip typically stores, in a secure database, a unique identification number linked to the owner's contact information. This allows for easy identification and reunification of lost or stray pets with their owners.

Additionally, some advanced microchips may also store medical information or vaccination records for the pet's health and safety. 

The Safety of Microchips

Some pet parents might have some concerns about allergic reactions or internal migration of the microchip. This method of identification has been in use for many years and has been implanted into millions of pets without incident. Newer microchips especially have been improved upon, making the likelihood of rejection or allergic reaction extremely rare.

Thanks to microchips, pets can be reunited with their loving families even years after being separated from them. Speak to your Carlsbad vets about having your canine companion microchipped as soon as possible!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Would you like to learn more about getting your dog or cat microchipped? Contact our Carlsbad vets for more information. 

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