We recommend every pet parent having their cat or dog microchipped in the event that they get out and become lost. It is such a wonderful feeling being able to reunite a client with a beloved furry family member.

Does it hurt? It’s more along the lines of uncomfortable. Having a microchip placed is like getting a vaccine but with a much bigger needle. In fact, it’s of a similar diameter as a standard craft dowel rod, or slightly less. The size of the needle accommodates the size of the chip, which is embedded under your pet’s skin on the back of the neck. This area usually has more loose skin. As you can imagine, it can still be uncomfortable, which is why we usually reserve microchip placement for procedures like spays, neuters, or dentals when the pet is already going to be under anesthesia and won’t feel it anyway.

The chip can travel. If you’ve ever seen one of us scanning your pet for a microchip and you’re wondering why we’re going over the whole body, it’s because the chip can migrate. It may be closer down one of the shoulders, or even, depending on where it was originally placed, it can end up closer to the hind end. We scan everywhere to make sure we are not missing it. We believe it’s important to have the chip number in our database.

It is not a GPS. When a pet has a microchip, there is not an app or website that can pull up Google maps and tag your pet’s exact location. There are some cool GPS tracking accessories you can get for your pet’s collar or harness which are available from other sources, but note these would only work if the pet keeps it on. But it’s not a bad idea as a second line of defense against losing one’s beloved furry friend. Going back to the client information: there is a way we can obtain information from this chip number, otherwise there wouldn’t be any use in them. All clinics or shelters may be different. The way we usually look up information is through the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup tool provided on the AAHA website. We type in the chip number in the search bar and the results will typically show the company the chip is registered with, a company phone number and/or web address, and the last time info was updated for that chip’s number. If we are needing to contact that microchip company, we’ll call them and they may or may not have permission to divulge information but one way or another, the pet parent is contacted that their furry friend has been found.

When I scan for a pet’s chip, I am often asked if I can see the client’s information. Microchip scanners do not show the pet parent’s information when a chip is scanned, just the chip number itself. Some of the new microchips show the animal’s temperature as well which is helpful to the clinic if you have a cat or an aggressive dog. It should be noted these temperatures are not 100% accurate – closer accuracy is achieved with a rectal thermometer – but it does save us from having to mess with your dog’s rear. We know, all dogs hate it and we don’t blame them. Just know it is hospital standard to obtain a temp on all patients that come for services, if we can.

Is it expensive? It’s variable. The HomeAgain microchip that we provide is a really great device. These are one of the chips that read a temperature and the chip number is saved in the HomeAgain database life-long. You do not have to keep re-paying them to keep that information intact. And prices do change occasionally, so I cannot quote on this post. You can always call and ask us what the price for microchipping is at that given time and we’d be happy to tell you.

And even if you’ve already had your pet spayed or neutered, or just had a dental cleaning performed, without the placement of the microchip while under anesthesia, it’s not too late to get your pet chipped. It’s just similar to a vaccine.

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