May is National Chip Your Pet Month. Although this is a very controversial topic and item of discussion, there are many pros and cons that any and all pet owners should know in order to make an informed decision about a microchip. First and foremost, your pets’ health and quality of life should be your number one priority.
- Help reunite you with your pet. This is the number one reason for microchipping your pet. If you ever had a pet run off or run away, like I did, you know that your number one priority is getting your pet back. Until they return home, you will worry that they’re lost or even worse, killed.
- Long shelf life. Most microchips last anywhere from 20–25 years which is more than likely a longer life than your pet. But if your pet does outlast the chip, it probably won’t be doing much running away anymore.
- Painless experience. It is only a slight pinch of pain for your pet, no more pain than their required shots for registering your dog. It takes only a few seconds and it’s done, likely much less pain and ache than what we humans experience after a flu vaccine.
- National microchip database. Yes, it is true, the chips are nationwide so you do not have to worry about city, county or state borders interfering with retrieving your pet. Hopefully it never gets to that distance, but when your pet is recovered, the recovering agency will check them with a scanner, retrieve your information and contact you.
- The chip can move. It is very rare, but sometimes the chips can move from their initial injection location. It doesn’t put your pet in any harm or risk by any means, but it does make the veterinarian or animal control’s job a lot more difficult. Some animal control officers do not take the time to find the chip, if it’s not in the most common place (between their shoulder blades).
- It won’t help you locate your pet. Microchips are not a GPS—they are identification cards. They can help someone contact you if and when your pet gets lost, but they do not send a signal to your phone to locate them. If you are looking for a GPS signal for your pet, you may want to look into some collars as options.
- May require a specific scanner. Unfortunately there is not a “one size fits all” scanner. Different scanners have different strengths, weaknesses and compatibility. Some scanners only have a last name and phone number while more expensive options have name, address, phone number, email and even social media handles. It is recommended you use the scanner and microchips that are most compatible in your area. Ask your veterinarian professional for more information.