Do I Really Need to Microchip My Pet?
Your pet always wears his collar with ID tags, right?
Unfortunately, at our Springfield, Missouri vet center, we see dogs who do, and some who don't. And cats...rarely. So while the ID tag is great for a dog wandering the street where he lives, it may not be helpful for more extreme circumstances. A collar can be removed if a pet is stolen, or found wandering and "adopted" by someone. An old collar can also deteriorate or come loose if a dog is out alone for a great length of time. If he ends up at a shelter, a dog without a collar may never see his owners again, or even end up euthanized. Why risk that with your beloved pet?
Pet microchips are radio-frequency identification (RDIF) implants that feel like a routine vaccination, so your pet won't even need an anesthetic when the veterinarian at our Springfield Veterinary Hospital injects the chip under the loose skin between the shoulder blades.
A chip cannot be removed, can't fall off, or be made illegible. And the information on the chip is only a unique ID number that is called into a recovery service after the chip is read. The service then contacts the pet owner. So even if a pet thief had a scanner, they could only recover the ID number; there are safeguards in place to protect your privacy.
Note, though, that once you microchip your pet, he must be registered with a recovery service, and you need to keep the service updated if you change your address or phone number, so they can contact you.
Now, a microchip is not a GPS-type locator, so you won't be able to track your pet. However, if a stolen or lost pet is brought to a vet or a shelter, the facility will be generally check for a microchip, and can contact you to retrieve your furry pal.
And it's an inexpensive way to protect your pet, at our Springfield Animal Hospital we charge only $25 for implantation. It's a one-time fee and may include registration in a pet recovery database. If your pet was adopted from a shelter or bought from a breeder, he may already have a microchip. Ask us to check during your next wellness exam.
For Dogs...or Cats, Too?
Cats are excellent candidates for the process, since most cat owners do not generally outfit their felines with collars and tags. And, of course, cats often spend time outside. Did you know that less than 2% of cats without microchips get returned home? Microchipped cats, however, have a return-to-owner rate 20% higher than cats without chips. And microchipped dogs have a much higher rate of return than dogs with only collar tags.
It's an easy procedure, and one that may someday save you the heartbreak of a missing pet.