What Is Microchipping for Dogs and Cats?
Pet Microchipping is a small procedure that inserts a minute microchip into your pet. The microchip is approximately the same size as a grain of rice and is a quick, safe, and permanent procedure. Pet microchips provide permanent identification and improved chances of reuniting lost dogs and cats with their owners. The chip is placed just under the skin at the back of your pet’s neck, under their shoulder blades. The procedure causes little discomfort to your pet and usually can be done at the same time your pet is being neutered. A pet microchip only needs to be implanted once, and your companion animal has it for life!
Microchipping is recommended for all pet dogs and cats, as collars and tags can fall off, but a pet microchip is permanent. The microchip is injected via a syringe and only takes a few seconds. It does not require anesthesia and is no more painful than a regular vaccination shot.
Requirements for Pet Microchipping?
In the UK, you could face a fine of up to GBP £500 if your dog is not microchipped by the time it is 8 weeks old. Hong Kong also requires that all dogs are microchipped before they enter, and dogs residents over 5m old to be chipped. There are a few requirements you should know when preparing to microchip your cat or dog.
Most veterinarians recommend implanting the microchip when your pet is between 4 and 6 months old. By this age, they are big enough for the injection, and their rapid growth has slowed.
Be sure to have the microchip registration completed, including your current contact details in the database associated with the chip’s ID number. This will help to contact the pet to you if they are lost.
The pet microchip must be implanted beneath the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades, at the back of the neck.
Schedule a visit to your vet about 2 weeks after implantation to scan and confirm the microchip is functioning and readable.
There are different chips used in different countries.
For example, in Hong Kong, if the microchip does not contain the HK type of AVID 9-digit number required by Hong Kong authorities, then your dog will be re-chipped at the airport. This procedure is not required for cats, any type of microchip is ok.
Why Is Pet Microchipping Used?
Microchipping is a quick, safe and simple device/procedure that has successfully reunited thousands of pets with their owners. If your pet was to get lost or stolen, having your pet microchipped dramatically increases your chances of being able to find it again. If pets are found and taken to a local vet or animal shelter, they can scan your pet’s microchip and contact you.
It’s used internationally as the surest way of identifying which pet is which, therefore helping correlate the documents with the pet’s microchip number and, hence, the pet. There are several key reasons why microchipping is used for your dogs and cats:
1. Permanent identification
The pet microchip provides a permanent way to identify your pet even if its collar and tags are lost. The microchip has a unique ID number registered to the owner in a database.
2. Reuniting lost pets
Animal shelters and veterinary offices have scanners to detect microchips. So, if your lost pet arrives at a facility, they can scan the chip and contact you.
3. Proof of ownership
Microchips act as a form of proof that the pet legally belongs to you. They can help resolve arguments over who owns a pet if it ends up in a shelter.
4. Identification of injuries/illnesses
Microchips can be implanted under your pet to store medical information, such as allergies, medical history, or even vaccination. Shelters or vet offices can identify health conditions if a chipped pet is found injured or ill.
Does a microchip implant procedure cause my pet any pain?
Many pet owners often wonder if implanting a microchip is painful or stressful for their furry companions. However, pet microchipping is a quick and painless procedure. The microchip is tiny, and the injection method is similar to a regular vaccination shot.
The veterinarian or trained implanter uses a specialized preloaded syringe to insert the microchip under the skin. Most pets show no signs of pain or discomfort. They usually return to normal behaviour immediately after microchipping.
How Does Microchipping Work in Dogs and Cats?
Your pet’s microchip will contain a unique number that is read on the microchip reader device.
It’s also (often, depending on country) held on a database along with your contact details. Whenever your pet is scanned, your details will appear. Therefore, it is vital that your contact details are kept up to date on the relevant national database in case your pet is lost or stolen. The database your pet is registered with should be alerted if your number, name or address are to change. This is the owner’s responsibility.
Additionally, if a pet’s owner changes the database will need to be updated. Microchipping is not a substitute for your pet wearing a collar and tags. These are prone to falling off but a microchip is permanent.
Does A Microchipping Track My Pet?
While microchips are very useful for identifying lost pets when they arrive at a shelter or vet clinic, the chips cannot pinpoint exactly where your pet is if it is lost. The microchips implanted in cats, dogs, and other animals are simple ID devices rather than GPS trackers. Here’s how microchips work and why they don’t track your pet’s movements:
- The microchip itself contains no internal power source or GPS technology. It is a small, inert chip encapsulated in a glass capsule.
- The chip contains a unique identification number that matches the pet’s registration in an external database.
- Microchips are only activated when scanned by a nearby microchip reader device. They do not emit constant signals.
- The microchip provides permanent identification but does not actively track the real-time location.
Who can microchip your pet?
Pet microchipping is a simple procedure that does not legally require a licensed veterinarian to perform. Veterinarians, shelters, and clinics can perform your cats’ and dog’s microchipping. Some local animal charities, organisations, and authorities may also offer it for free. If the person is properly trained to implant the pet microchips and document the registration, they can legally provide microchipping services.
How can I find out the details of my pet’s microchip?
To find the details of your pet’s microchip, take your pet along to any vet; they can scan your pet’s chip with a microchip scanner and see the details. Changing the details on your pet’s microchip is not possible, although the record can be changed at the database – you will need to contact directly the database your details are stored on. Your vet will be able to help you do this.
Can a microchip become damaged?
Because of the minute size, your cat’s or dog’s microchip is challenging to get damaged and removed. They are designed to be inserted once and not taken out. However, in very rare cases severe damage to your pet’s back and neck to could also cause damage to your pet’s microchip. On rare occasions microchips may be rejected by your pet’s body. In rare cases, we have seen the dogs’ and cats’ microchips become inactive, but this is incredibly rare.
Can all pets be microchipped?
While microchipping is suitable for most common household pets, there are some limitations on which animals can be safely and effectively microchipped. For cats and dogs, microchipping is recommended and widely performed, even on small breeds. Other common pets like rabbits, ferrets, birds, reptiles, and horses can also be successfully microchipped in most cases.
However, small companion animals like hamsters may be too tiny for chip implantation. Aquarium fish and invertebrates, like insects, are generally not considered for microchips either.
Microchipping plays a pivotal role in the welfare and safety of our beloved pets. As a pet relocation company, we strongly recommend microchipping your pet before any upcoming move or travel. Ensuring your pet is microchipped and registered provides essential identification and protection during the relocation process. Pet microchipping increases the chance your pet is quickly returned if lost or separated during transport. Be sure to register the microchip and keep your contact info updated with the microchip company.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to microchip your pet?
Microchipping your pet is extremely important because it is the best way to ensure your lost pet can be identified and returned to you. The microchip is scannable, so shelter staff or vets can quickly scan for the chip and look up your contact info.
Can I track my dog with a microchip?
No, you cannot track your dog with a microchip. Microchips do not have GPS capabilities and cannot track the real-time location of a pet. They only provide a means of identification when scanned.
Are there any risks with microchipping?
The risks are very low. There may be minor pain, bleeding or infection from the injection, but this is rare. Once healed, the microchip causes no problems in pets.
Can you read a pet microchip with your phone?
Unfortunately, you cannot currently scan a pet microchip with a phone. You need a microchip scanner to read a pet microchip for this.
Are dogs in pain after microchipping?
The microchip implantation is no more painful than a routine vaccination shot for dogs. Most dogs show no signs of pain or discomfort within 24 hours after getting microchipped.