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Understanding Microchip Basics

April 1, 2020

If you’re new to pet ownership or are considering adopting an animal companion soon, you may not be familiar with microchips. These tiny devices are the best way to keep your pet properly identified throughout their entire lives! Learn more about pet microchips in this article from your veterinarian. 


What’s a microchip?

A microchip is a tiny computer chip that gets implanted just under your pet’s skin. It contains an electronic number, which corresponds to the manufacturer’s database where your contact information is stored. When a lost pet is relinquished to an animal shelter or vet clinic, scanning devices there can read the chip’s number, discovering who the pet belongs to so that they can be reunited quickly and easily. 


Understand that a microchip is not a tracking device—you can’t use it to track your pet’s real-time movements if they get lost. It’s simply a secure way to keep identification on your pet at all times. 


What’s the benefit of a microchip?

Microchips can’t be removed by pets, accidentally or on purpose, the way ID tags on a collar could be chewed off or ripped away. That offers significant peace of mind. Many pet owners, in fact, use ID tags and a microchip at the same time. 


Microchips are also very cost-effective. They’re inexpensive, and you’ll only have to purchase one. Even if you get a new address or your telephone number changes later in life, you can simply update your information with the chip manufacturer. Your pet will keep the same microchip the whole time! 


What’s the implant procedure like?

The microchip itself is housed in a tiny glass capsule, and that unit is inserted under your pet’s first few layers of skin with a specialized hypodermic needle-like device. It only takes a moment, and all your pet will feel is a slight pinch. To eliminate any discomfort, we recommend microchipping at the time of spay or neuter. After injection, scar tissue develops around the microchip capsule to hold it in place. 


Is there any risk involved? 

The microchip implant procedure is virtually risk-free. Some pets can experience minor swelling or irritation at the injection site, but this almost always resolves itself within a day or two. 


How do I get my pet a microchip? 

Contact your veterinary clinic right away if you would like to learn more about pet microchips, or if you’re ready to get your animal companion set up with one. We’re always here to help! 


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