Dr. Joyce Ashamalla
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla is the managing partner at Hinsdale Animal Hospital with Kremer Veterinary Service, as well as a partner at CARE Animal Emergency Hospital. She received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois- Champaign Urbana, where she also completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She is AO certified, USDA-APHIS accredited, and is a member of the CVMA, ISVMA, AVMA.
It’s a sunny, Saturday afternoon on a warm summer day. Your neighbor just made some ice tea and is about to relax on his deck and after mowing his lawn. Suddenly, it occurs to him that he hasn’t seen his dog for a while. Strange because she had just on the deck a moment earlier…
PANIC sets in when he realizes that he forgot to close his yard’s back gate after he finished mowing. She’s gone – his dog is on the run and he has no idea where to even begin looking for her.
A thousand awful images fill his mind about what could happen to his poor pet out on the street by herself. Your friend collects his thoughts, and gets in his car to begin the search.
The moment the car starts to roll in reverse down the driveway, his phone rings. It’s the local police calling to tell him that someone found his beloved dog brought her to the station. The police took an electronic wand and waved it over her shoulder blades, which beeped and provided your neighbor’s contact information. Your neighbor and his best friend are reunited because he took the time to have a pet microchip implanted.
What Is A Pet Microchip & Why Is Microchipping Pets Important?
A pet microchip is a permanent form of electronic identification. It is a small computer chip that is not attached to their collar, but rather physically implanted under the animal’s skin in between the shoulder blades. The pet microchip has a unique number that is registered in a microchip database which stores basic information about you and your animal – such as your name, address, phone number and any other important information about the pet.
The implantation of the device can be done in just a few minutes by the vet’s office, similar to administering a vaccine. There are no medical side effects to microchipping pets, nor does looking up the information (scanning) have any impact on the animal.
Anytime a dog or cat needs to be identified, a person can use a specific electronic wand to easily look up the stored pet microchip information. On the screen of the wand the pet owner’s information will appear, making it possible to reunite them with their lost furry friend, and give a happy ending to a rather terrifying story.
Everything You Need To Know About Pet Microchips
Here are some important points to know about how pet microchips work and your animal.
- The chips do not require a battery change or any maintenance. The device will last a lifetime.
- Sometimes the chips will migrate around under the pet’s skin. There is no need for concern. All the scanning person needs to do is simply widen the scanning motion around the animal in order to make an electronic connection.
- Once the animal is chipped, you will need to input your personal contact information into the manufacturer’s website. This is the most important step! Without completing the full registration with your information, there will be no way for anyone to contact you should your pet become lost. So make sure this information is up-to-date and accurate.
- Vet offices, police stations, rescue shelters and other agencies all have universal scanners that will read any chip and thus be able to give them the needed information on the microchipped pet. Even though a number of different companies manufacture pet microchips, the technology is shared which makes them all compatible.
- Keep in mind that some chips are designed to only work in the U.S., where others are used in Europe. If you plan on traveling with your animal, be sure you check ahead of time as to the chip’s functionality.
- Chips are especially helpful in times of natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes and storms. Pets are often lost during these events and the chips make happy reunions more probable.
- The cost for a microchip installation is relatively inexpensive, usually under $100 for the chip and the vet’s fees. Some chip companies have additional costs, so be sure to check with the vet or chip maker for further details.
- If you move out of state, be sure that your pet’s chip can be used in the new location. In addition, it is critical that when you do move (even locally), that you update the chip’s information with your new contact data. Having an outdated address or phone number completely defeats the purpose of the microchip program. Vet offices all over the country are happy to microchip pets.
Understanding the answer to the question how do pet microchips work is a very important part of their success. Our dogs and cats are an incredibly important part of our lives and we do all we can to take care of them. When the unthinkable happens, it’s so nice to know that the microchip will help people on the other end identify your dog or cat and start the process of getting them reunited with you. So is it a good idea to microchip pets? You bet it is! If you haven’t, get your pet chipped right away!