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Microchips for Pets: How They Work and Why Your Pet Needs One

Gemma Clarke | May 27, 2022

As a pet owner, you try your best to keep your fur family safe and healthy. Unfortunately, sometimes our pet companions get other ideas – by wandering away from home, getting lost, or finding themselves in precarious situations.

For these reasons, most vets recommend getting your pet microchipped so they are more easily found if they are lost or stolen. Doing so may be the best way to avoid stressing about their whereabouts and to ensure they come home as soon as possible. 

In honor of Chip Your Pet Month, we're covering what pet microchips are, how they work, and for what reasons you should get your pet microchipped.

What is a pet microchip?

A pet microchip is an implant that’s placed under your pet’s skin and used to identify your pet’s location. The microchip itself is only about the size of a grain of rice, but its radio-frequency technology can be quite powerful in finding your pet. 

Pet microchips are relatively noninvasive and super convenient when it comes to locating your pet. For these reasons, they typically come highly recommended by vets. 

Now, if you're a first-time pet parent, you might brush this off as your vet trying to sell you something unnecessary, or you might worry about the risks associated with it. But there are many reasons to get your pet microchipped.

How does a pet microchip work?

Pet microchips use a technology known as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to transmit the information stored on the microchip to the receiving scanning device, which then reads your pet’s unique ID number. Microchips don’t need batteries or a power source in order to function, so they’re rarely at risk of dysfunction. 

Can you track your pet with a microchip?

Yes! RFID technology allows pet owners to search for, track, identify, and locate their pets. If your pet’s microchip is registered, you can find their location at any time, typically from a computer or mobile device. 

4 reasons why you should microchip your pet

There are several reasons why vets strongly recommend getting a pet microchipped. Rather than having to search your community for your lost pet, microchips offer the convenience of being able to locate your pet, potentially, within a matter of minutes. 

Here’s why you should get your pet microchipped.

1. Microchips help you find lost pets

Losing a fur child is every pet parent's worst nightmare. However, accidents happen, and pets get out. The primary purpose of microchipping is pet safety as it helps to reunite owners with lost pets. If someone finds your pet and takes them to a vet or shelter, the facility will scan their microchip and access your contact information.

If you're wondering how much having a microchip increases your chance of finding your pet, you'll be surprised. Dogs with microchips are two times more likely to be returned to their owners than pups without one. And astonishingly, a reunion between cat and owner is 20 times more likely if the kitty has a microchip!

2. Microchips prove ownership

Microchipping is especially vital if you have a pedigree dog or cat. Unfortunately, thefts of certain breeds are common throughout the country. If your pet gets stolen and has a standard ID tag, the thief can easily remove it, leaving no way for you to prove that the animal is yours. 

However, microchips link animals to their owners, and thieves cannot remove them. So if you were to find yourself in this horrible situation, having a microchip on your pet could increase your chances of getting them back. 

3. Microchipping is quick and painless

Some pet owners feel apprehensive about getting their pet chipped as they think it will cause their beloved fur baby pain or discomfort. However, a microchip is the size of a grain of rice. So inserting one typically doesn't feel like anything more than a slight pinch to your pet. 

You won't have to put your pet under anesthesia or leave them at the vet all day either, as microchipping takes seconds. They do it using a needle and a syringe, and the process is similar to injecting a vaccine. The hypodermic needle is slightly larger than the one used for vaccines but does not cause additional pain.

4. Microchips can’t break or get lost

You may think that your pet doesn't need a microchip as they have a collar and an ID tag. However, most collars are designed with a breakaway style for safety reasons, meaning they can come off easily. If this happens, whoever finds your pet has no way of knowing who the owner is. 

Microchips cannot get lost or become unreadable. They stay under your pet's skin for up to 25 years, lasting their entire life. In rare cases, the microchip may move away from the original location, making it more difficult for vets to find the chip. However, if it does move around your pet's body, it does not pose any risk or cause any pain.

What are the risks of microchipping your pet?

Like with any medical procedure, there is a small risk that your pet may have an adverse reaction to microchipping. However, these reactions are usually minor and temporary, causing nothing more than slight inflammation around the insertion. There may also be a minuscule cancer risk, but its link to microchipping is not proven. In fact, there are only 4 reported cases out of more than 4 million microchipped pets nationwide. 

Weighing up the huge benefits with the tiny risks, it's clear that microchipping your pet is worth it. Microchipping is also relatively inexpensive and considering you only need to do it once, it's well worth the small investment for the pet safety and peace of mind it gives.

Get lost pet expenses covered with Furkin Pet Insurance

Going through the experience of a lost or missing pet can cause stress - both emotional and financial. Fortunately, Furkin Pet Insurance includes coverage for the cost of eligible advertising and reward money if your pet goes missing. If you first report your loss to a local shelter, humane society or animal services agency, Furkin can help relieve some of the additional financial burden associated with the costs of advertising and reward up to $1,000.

Get awesome coverage for when you need it most and help keep your pet safe and protected in times of need. Learn more about our Advertising & Reward for a Lost Pet Claim Form and get a quote today.