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Whether you’re a new pet owner or already have a long-term pet companion, understanding microchips is an essential part of your pet’s safety. Although there’s a lot of information about microchips at your fingertips, not all of it is accurate. In this article, we’re debunking some common misconceptions to help you understand what’s fact, and what’s fiction.
What Is a Microchip?
A pet microchip is a tiny electronic device – as small as a single grain of rice – inserted under your pet’s skin. Usually, a veterinarian will implant the microchip either on the back of your pet’s neck or in between the shoulder blades.
A microchip only contains your pet’s unique identification number, and it will need to be registered with the pet owner’s name and contact information as soon as possible in order to activate it. You’ll need to register your microchip with a microchip registry like 24Petwatch (the largest in North America!). Since a microchip is only as useful as the information connected to it, it’s imperative that you register it with your current name and contact details as soon as possible, so you can be contacted if your pet goes missing and is found.
How Does It Work?
Pets that are found and brought to an animal shelter, rescue, or vet clinic are routinely scanned for a microchip. The staff will know to contact 24Petwatch and provide them with the unique microchip ID number of the missing pet. A 24Petwatch Lost Pet Recovery Specialist will then use your pet’s unique microchip ID to retrieve information about the pet, including the owner’s name and contact information. As long as you have kept the information registered to your pet’s microchip up-to-date, then you will be contacted to arrange a safe reunion with your beloved pet.
With the Lifetime Protection Membership from 24Petwatch, you have 24/7 access to Lost Pet Recovery Specialists who can quickly launch the process of finding your pet.
Why Is Microchipping Important?
A total of approximately 10 million household pets go missing each year in the United States. Of that number, only 2% of cats and 15% of dogs without microchips or ID tags are ever returned to their owners. This is a startling statistic, but it demonstrates the importance of having a registered pet microchip and how it can help ensure that you and your pet are reunited if they do get lost. Think of your pet’s microchip as a permanent, reliable identification tool that provides the best chance of bringing you back together with your best friend, in the event that they are ever stolen or lost.
It’s crucial that you register your pet’s microchip with your current contact information as soon as possible, with the 24Petwatch microchip registry, and keep it up-to-date at all times. If you move or get a new phone number, simply log into your MyPethealth portal or call 1-866-375-7387 right away to ensure that your contact details remain accurate. Even though it seems simple, this important piece of information can be overlooked or forgotten. In fact, a study of 53 animal shelters showed that only 58% of all animals with microchips were properly registered.
Common Misconceptions About Microchips
We’ve covered three basic questions about pet microchips. Now, let’s clear up some common misconceptions.
You Can Feel a Microchip in a Dog or Cat
This depends on your pet’s build and where the microchip was implanted. The deeper the chip was inserted into the muscle tissue, the more difficult it could be to feel from the surface. If your pet is on the thinner side or has a short coat, you might be able to feel the small chip underneath the skin. In any case, rest assured that the chip is as small as a grain of rice, painless, and is unlikely to move.
It’s Complicated to Change the Information on a Microchip from a Previous Owner to a New One
Fortunately, the process of changing owner information on a microchip is not complicated. Whether a pet is just joining your family or moving to a new one, it’s important to transfer their registered microchip information as soon as possible. If you have all of the required documents and are listed as a pet parent on these documents, you can complete the process by email.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the required documentation or aren’t listed as the pet parent, you can still complete the transfer of microchip registration by calling 24Petwatch at 1-877-707-7297. For detailed instructions on how to complete a transfer of microchip registration, or for frequently asked questions on this topic, visit the 24Petwatch website.
Microchips Hurt Dogs and Cats
Luckily, this isn’t the case. Although the hypodermic microchip needle is a bit bigger than those used for vaccines or other injections, the implantation itself isn’t any more painful and doesn’t necessarily require anesthesia. In most cases though, microchipping is done during other routine procedures like neutering or spaying, while the pet is under general anesthetic.
A Microchip Is a GPS Tracker
Pet microchips are not GPS devices, nor can they track the location of your pet at any given moment. Instead, they are the only permanent and reliable way to identify a lost pet. That’s why keeping the information that’s registered to your pet’s microchip updated with your most recent contact details is so important.
It’s also a good idea to have a physical pet tag with your pet’s unique microchip number and your contact details. The Lifetime Warranty ID Tags from 24Petwatch are a great way to display this information and are an additional measure to ensure that your pet can be identified accurately and returned to you if they ever go missing. They also come with a lifetime warranty, which means 24Petwatch will replace your tag if it’s ever damaged or becomes unreadable (not if it’s lost).
Pets Suffer from Side Effects After a Microchip Is Inserted
A microchip injection is similar to a vaccine or routine blood work, and the side effects – if any – are pretty comparable as well. According to Dr. Debra Primovic – DVM, some sensitive pets could be a bit tired or sore after a vaccine or implantation, but if you have any concerns, you should contact your veterinarian.
Microchips Aren’t Legally Required, So I Don’t Need One
When it comes to the United States, Hawaii is currently the only state that requires owners to microchip their pets. But, even if it’s not mandatory to microchip your pet in most states, it’s still the most reliable and permanent way to identify your pet, and it provides the best chance of being reunited with them if they go missing.
Microchips Offer Peace of Mind
The more you know about the benefits of microchipping, the more peace of mind you’ll have when it comes to protecting your dog or cat. Ensuring that your pet has a registered microchip with the most up-to-date contact information is the best way to make sure they are returned to you if they ever go missing.
For answers to more commonly asked questions about microchipping and lost pet services, visit 24Petwatch.com. For more information about enhanced Pet Protection Services like our Lifetime Protection Membership, visit the 24Petwatch website or contact a 24Petwatch Lost Pet Recovery Specialist today at 1-866-597-2424.