Microchipping Your Pet

As a practicing veterinarian, I am often asked about microchipping for dogs and cats. Microchips are an incredibly important tool to help reunite pets with their owners. These small, battery-powered devices rest under your dog’s skin and are used to help connect a pet to a registered owner and their phone number or other contact information. In the following article, I will review what a pet microchip is, how it works, and how it helps reunite lost pets when a cat runs out of the house or a dog climbs under the fence. Microchips also help provide some piece of mind, knowing that if your family pet gets lost, there is a means of reconnecting them back to their loved ones at home.

Microchips are small, cylindrical chips that are placed under the skin of your pet between the shoulder blades. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice and is no more painful than a typical injection although the needle is slightly larger. It only takes a few short seconds to implant the microchip. Implanting a microchip does not require sedation or anesthesia and is extremely affordable.

There are many companies who currently manufacture microchips. Microchipping your dog or cat is fast and easy and can be implanted at most veterinary hospitals. Microchips give off a radio-frequency which yields a unique combination of numbers and letters assigned to your pet. Most veterinary offices and shelters carry a universal microchip scanner to help detect this unique number. Microchips must be registered to an owner to be effective, at World of Animals we take care of the registration process for you which is guaranteed by the microchip company for the life of your pet.

When a stray pet is found at a veterinary hospital or shelter, it is scanned to see if it has a microchip. If a chip is found, a call to the microchip company helps us by identifying the lost pet’s owner and (if registered) a  phone number and name. A simple phone call is often all that is then needed to help reunite the pet with their owner.

There are several advantages to using a microchip compared to other pet identifying techniques. Collars and tags can be removed or become separated from a lost pet. Tattoos or other identifying markings can fade with time and do not account for an owner’s change of phone number or if a pet is readopted to another home or family. The batteries in microchips are only activated when a scanner is placed above them, so they should last for the life of the pet.

Pet Microchipping Veterinary Hospital

Microchips are an extremely valuable tool that can help reunite a pet with their family when lost. A study by the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine found that 53% of returned strays were through the use of a microchip compared to 21.9% without them. As you can see, microchips do help return pets to homes and keep our loved “fur babies” with us for years to come. For more information about microchips or to schedule an appointment please contact our Veterinary Hospital.


Jeffrey Stupine VMD

Medical Director

World of Animals Veterinary Hospitals