Whether you’re a new owner or have a long-time friend in your life, one of the big decisions you need to make is whether or not to have your pet microchipped. Unfortunately, many pet owners have not considered microchipping simply because they don’t understand what exactly it is.
Put simply, microchipping is the process of implanting a radio transmitter under the skin of your pet. What makes this tiny microchip so special is that it is able to use passive RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to identify your pet when scanned. This all may sound like something out of a scary science fiction movie, but in reality it is a completely safe and quick procedure.
Even if pet owners understand the technology behind these little RFID chips, for many one big question remains: Why should I microchip my pet? When it comes to making the decision to microchip your pet, there are five main factors to consider:
It’s an inexpensive purchase
While the price may vary from vet to vet, on average, the cost of having your pet microchipped is about $45. On top of this fee paid to your vet, some microchip companies, such as HomeAgain, also charge an annual fee to register the microchip with a company who will store your pet’s information. Again, the price of these annual fees will vary but tend to be around $19.99. However, there are not-for-profit organizations, such as the Found Animals Foundation, that store microchip information free of charge.
To put this cost in perspective, even the combination of microchipping and annual fee is a lot cheaper than other potential forms of searching for your lost pet, such as printing and distributing flyers or taking out ads in the paper and online. When you take that into consideration, the cost of microchipping can save you not only time, but also the unimaginable heartbreak you will experience if your pet ever goes missing,
It’s painless to implant
One of the biggest concerns that hold pet owners back from microchipping their pet is the uncertainty about the potential pain they may be inflicting on their four-legged friend. This is a completely understandable concern, but is not something pet owners need to worry about because a microchip is only the size of a grain of rice and is placed in the fleshy scruff of your pet’s neck. The combination of the chip’s size and placement make the implantation virtually painless – so painless, in fact, many animals don’t even realize it is happening!
It can be implanted at any time in your pet’s life
Another benefit of choosing to microchip your pet is that microchips can be implemented at any time in your pet’s life. Whether you’ve adopted a juvenile or senior pet, both can benefit from having a microchip implanted with their new information. The open window of implantation also means that owners who already have pets, but may not have considered microchipping before, still have the opportunity to do so.
It’s the safest and most reliable form of identification
The main downside of most other forms of identification is that eventually they need to be replaced: Collars are lost and ID tags become illegible or the information on them incorrect. Microchips, on the other hand, are designed to last up to 25 years, which is much longer than the lifespan of your average four-legged friend. The biggest benefit of microchips is the fact that all of your pet’s identification information is saved digitally, meaning that it is unlikely to be lost or destroyed. Unless your pet lives to break a world longevity record, it’s unlikely that their microchip will ever have to be replaced, either.
It gives your lost pet the best chance of being returned home safely
The number one reason why lost pets are not returned is because those who find them have no way of contacting their owners. Often, this is due to the pet’s collar being lost, illegible ID tags, or the pet simply wearing no meaningful form of identification. This is what makes microchips so beneficial: their digital format completely eliminates this tragic possibility.
Whether you’re a first time pet owner researching your options or an experienced owner who hasn’t considered this alternative form of identification, next time you’re at the veterinarian ask them about microchipping. Your veterinary team will be more than happy to address any of your questions or concerns and help you make an informed decision. As pet owners ourselves, trust us when we say that if your pet ever goes missing, you’ll be glad you did.