It's only a little larger than a grain of rice, but it has the power to bring your lost pet home. For one reason or another, many people hesitate to have their pets microchipped. I'm here to tell you that there is absolutely zero reason to hesitate. Let's address some of those fears, shall we?
1. I've heard that it hurts the pet to implant.
The needle involved in inserting the microchip is very similar to those involved in routine vaccinations, albeit slightly larger, but most pets don't react to having it implanted in the loose skin between their shoulder blades. In many cases, if the owner is nervous about sensitivity, we will insert the chip during another anesthetic procedure. However, if your pet doesn't already have one on the books, I would not recommend waiting until that happens!
2. It's not safe for my pet to have a foreign object in his body.
While I would agree with this statement in most cases (I've seen a lot of weird things eaten by labs), this is not the case with microchips. Microchips are made out of an inert bio-compatible substance that will not cause an allergic reaction or degenerate. The anti-migrating properties of the chip prevent it from moving into tissues or organs.
3. Microchipping is expensive!
Most veterinarians and animal shelters offer microchipping at a very low cost. Registering your chip with your microchip company may require additional minimal fees because they offer you the opportunity to set up an membership account, keep your information up to date, add additional contacts, and the ability to add photos and descriptions of your pet. With our chips, initial registration is at no additional charge, but they do offer other services that you can choose to purchase.
4. Why do I need this? Isn't that what his collar and tags are for?
Unfortunately, a collar and tags are not permanently affixed to your pet's body (especially if you have a cat). A microchip stays permanently under your pet's skin and can be detected for life. It's also much easier to keep your information up to date, as you can do this online or over the phone rather than getting a new one each time.
5. How does a microchip actually work to bring your my pet home? Should I be concerned about my personal information getting out?
A microchip is not a GPS device, and there is no information that anyone could obtain without a scanning device and authority to do so. You do need to continuously update your personal information with your microchip company in order to guarantee that it has the right information associated with it. If your pet gets lost, any shelter or veterinary facility that someone brings him to will scan for his chip and find a series of numbers. They will then look up that number in an online database to see what company manufactured his chip. After calling that company, a shelter or vet can obtain your registered contact information to get your pet back to you.
6. My pet never gets lost. This seems silly.
You say that now, but when you're trudging through the woods screaming her name for an hour like I did a few weeks ago when my landlord's three-year-old son let Clementine "out to play" in an unfenced yard surrounded by miles of wilderness, you'll feel even more silly. Luckily, Clementine came back all on her own, but if I hadn't found her that day, I would have been counting on that microchip to bring her back to me. Even years later, I've seen pets reunited with owners who had all but lost hope that they'd come home.
So what are you waiting for? Get your pets chipped...yesterday!
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