Microchipping, What is a Microchip for pets?

Microchips.  If you have pets, you’ve most likely heard of them by now.  But you might not know exactly what a microchip is, and why, or why not you should have your pets Microchipped.

What is a Microchip and what does it do?

A microchip is also known as a radio frequency identification tag (RFID).  They are about the size of a grain of rice.  And emit a radio frequency signal that can be scanned with a handheld scanner.  Most animal shelters, veterinarians, police departments, animal rescue groups and more have the scanners needed to read the microchips in animals.  When the microchip is scanned, the scanner will show a number, unique to that pet, that is stored in a database, to help find the owner of said pet.

The microchip is embedded under the skin of the animals by a veterinarian, kind of like a shot, with a hypodermic needle.  Usually, up between the shoulder blades of the animal.  It’s no more painful than vaccination shots to the animal, and most veterinarians and shelters that chip the animals, don’t use general anesthesia.  Although, sometimes a local anesthesia is used.  It is a big needle, after all.

It takes on average of 24 hours for the animal’s tissue to bond to the chip and to hold it in place.  And sometimes they move before this takes place.  Our Chewy’s chip is about midway down his back, but still readable with a microchip scanner.  And most vets that have scanned him have no problem finding it.

After your pet is microchipped, you register the microchip on the manufacturer’s website and input your contact information.  Often times you can even upload a photo of your pet.  Some manufacturers charge a registration fee or annual maintenance fee, some are free.  It depends on the microchip manufacturer.

Now you know what a microchip is, how it works, and how to get your pet microchipped. Tomorrow’s post we’ll talk some about why you should get your pets microchipped.

This post is part of the series Microchipping: All about Microchips for Pets

Other posts in this series:

  1. Microchipping, What is a Microchip for pets? (Current)
  2. Microchipping, Why you Should Microchip your Pets



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