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Microchipping Pets: Essential Information

May 15, 2024

May is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of pet microchipping. This is one thing that all pets can benefit from! An Olympia, WA veterinarian offers helpful advice on microchipping your pet in this article.

Why Is Microchipping My Pet Important?

Microchips create a vital connection between you and your beloved animal companion. Surprisingly, pets go missing more often than most people realize. A third get lost at least once in their lives.

Many people assume that their pets will never run off. Unfortunately, that’s not accurate. It’s not uncommon for pets to flee when they feel frightened. Missing pet reports usually experience a noticeable increase following New Year’s Eve and July 4th. This is because many frightened animals run away due to the loud noises and fireworks. Fido and Fluffy may also wander off if someone accidentally leaves the door open.

Are Microchips Actually Useful?

Absolutely! They have reunited countless lost pets and their concerned owners. In the unfortunate event that your beloved pet goes missing, having this information could have a significant impact and potentially be a lifesaver for your furry companion! 

The statistics regarding lost animals are quite concerning. A study conducted by Ohio State University has shed some light on the subject.

  • Most dog and cat owners with microchipped pets were successfully contacted, with a higher percentage of dog owners (74%) being reached compared to cat owners (63.5%).
  • A majority of both dog (76%) and cat owners (61%) wanted their pets back.
  • Dogs with microchips had a significantly higher rate of being returned to their owners than those without chips (52.2% vs. 21.9%).
  • Microchipped cats had a significantly higher chance of returning home than unchipped cats, with a rate of 38.5% versus 1.8%.
  • When owners couldn’t be reached, it was often because of incorrect or disconnected phone numbers. Around 35.4% of the cases that were monitored constituted those cases. An additional 24% of the owners failed to respond to their calls or correspondence. Around ten percent of the chips were not registered, while approximately seventeen percent were registered in a database that did not belong to the chipmakers.

What Exactly Are Microchips?

A microchip functions as an implanted ID tag. Typically, it is located just below the skin, nestled between the shoulder blades, in both dogs and cats. These create a strong, invisible bond between you and your beloved pet.

Microchips are incredibly tiny, measuring just as small as a grain of rice. They only contain a single piece of data: an ID number. The technology utilized in microchips is known as passive radio-frequency identification, or RFID, technology. The microchip, commonly known as a transponder or a PIT (passive transponder tag), remains dormant until it is scanned by a designated device. These scanners emit low-frequency radio waves that prompt the chip to transmit its unique ID number, which will then be displayed on the device’s screen.

Will A Microchip Help Me To Track My Pet?

Sadly, no. Microchips do not include GPS functionality. The main challenge in this situation is the power supply. Unless scientists find a method to utilize the energy from Fluffy’s purrs and Fido’s tail wags to generate power for a microchip, that probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.

However, there are GPS tags available for your pets. These are pawesome! Just do some research before making a purchase. When evaluating different options, it’s important to consider a few key factors: the device’s waterproofing capability, the technology it uses, how long the battery lasts, the range it can cover, and any associated subscription costs. For example, while certain devices utilize wi-fi, others rely on satellite technology. That said, numerous pet owners have already utilized these to assist them in finding their furry escapees.

How Is The Microchipping Procedure Performed?

The veterinarian will insert the chip under your pet’s skin using a hypodermic needle. This is commonly performed concurrently with neutering or spaying. It makes sense because the animal is already sedated and at the clinic. Alternatively, you can also arrange a separate schedule for it. Consult your Olympia, WA for more information.

Do Pets Experience Pain During The Microchipping Process?

This process is incredibly simple and efficient. For Fido and Fluffy, it can feel like receiving a vaccination. Complications are very uncommon. Regarding recovery time, a simple treat and a nap should suffice. (Of course, if Fluffy or Fido  is undergoing surgery, they will require some time to recover.)

How Long Will My Pet’s Microchip Last? 

Microchips typically last 25 years, far exceeding the average lifespan of dogs and cats. People who have pets with longer lifespans, such as birds and horses, may eventually need to replace their microchips.

Do Smartphones Scan Microchips?

No. Given the ingrained incompatibility between phone technology and microchips, this seems unlikely to change.

What Happens If My Microchipped Dog Is Stolen?

Given the increasing number of pet theft cases, this is a legitimate concern. Here’s another compelling reason to consider microchipping your pet: Microchips are highly effective in legal proceedings as they provide indisputable evidence of ownership. 

What Do I Need To Do To Maintain My Pet’s Microchip?

Keeping your records up to date is important, but there should be no need for any action regarding the chip itself. Microchips are generally not active. They don’t need any maintenance, and, unfortunately, you won’t be able to install updates to enhance your furry friend’s behavior.

That said, having your Olympia, WA veterinarian regularly check the chip to ensure it’s still working properly and hasn’t shifted is a good idea.

Is There A Monthly Fee After My Pet Is Microchipped?

Not necessarily. Some companies offer services for a fee, but not every company does. Typically, you only need to pay a one-time fee for a lifetime membership. Talk to your veterinarian for more information.

Okay, I Got My Pet Microchipped. What Next?

Completing the chipmaker’s registry is a necessary—absolutely essential—step! Your chip will be useless if your contact information is outdated or missing. Remember to keep your information up to date in case you change or modify your contact details.

What Other Benefits Do Microchips Provide?

Some pet doors can be connected to Fluffy and Fido’s microchip, allowing for seamless integration. That will enable you to allow Fido to freely access the yard without the risk of raccoons or stray cats entering. You can also find dishes that are designed specifically for certain types of chips. This is a helpful tool if you have multiple pets, and one or more of them need specialized diet food. Plus, it will be fun to see where this tech goes in the future!

Which Animals Are Usually Microchipped?

The most common animals to be microchipped are dogs and cats, but many other animals are capable of having chips implanted. On that list, you’ll find a variety of animals, including ferrets, tortoises, birds, horses, and reptiles.

Are ID Tags Still Important?

Definitely! They are mandatory in numerous locations. Regardless of whether they are required in your area or not, they remain highly significant. If someone happens to come across your furry companion, this is the most straightforward method for them to contact you. (Note: we suggest including the word REWARD on the tag for extra incentive.)

Schedule An Appointment At Our Olympia, WA Animal Clinic 

Would you like to schedule an appointment to microchip your pet? Feel free to contact us, your Olympia, WA  vet, for any of your veterinary service and care requirements. We’re here to assist you!

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