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Why Take the Risk? Get Your Pet Microchipped

The thought of losing a pet is every owner’s worst nightmare. According to Maricopa Animal Care and Control’s 2014 Annual Report, only 11% of the 38,235 animals that entered the shelter were able to be returned to their owners. Luckily, there are steps we can take to increase the probability that a lost furry friend will be celebrating a joyful reunion.

Although a collar and tags are important, they can easily fall off or be removed. By electing to microchip your pet, you will have the most permanent form of identification working to protect your beloved dog or cat. Microchips insure a higher probability that your pet will be returned to you.

Image of microchip size in comparison to grain of rice
Microchip compared to grain of rice.
Although a collar and tags are important, they can easily fall off or be removed. By electing to microchip your pet, you will have the most permanent form of identification working to protect your beloved dog or cat. Microchips insure a higher probability that your pet will be returned to you.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. Each microchip is encased in bio-compatible glass and contains an actual chip that holds information and components that emit a radio frequency. A microchip is not a GPS device, nor does it actively transmit signals. A microchip is considered passive and only transmits a radio frequency when a scanner is waved within close proximity of the chip.

How is the microchip inserted?

Microchipping may sound like an invasive procedure; however, it is very easy and routine. Microchipping a pet works just like a vaccination and does not require surgery or anesthesia. A microchip is contained within a sterile needle on the end of a syringe device. Typically for a dog or cat, a chip is inserted just under the skin in between the shoulder blades. The procedure is completed quickly and your pet will experience little to no pain very similar to vaccinations.

What do I do after my pet is microchipped?

You have taken an important, proactive step to protect your pet but your job is not done just yet! A microchip is nearly useless if you do not complete the registration process. Each microchip comes with a unique ID code that is entered into the microchip manufacturer’s database. In order for a microchip to be effective, you must register the chip so that the ID code corresponds with your contact information. It is also important that if you move or change your phone number that you update your records with the microchip registration company as well.

Many microchip companies charge a registration fee, so plan for the possibility of this cost which averages around $20. Depending on where your pet is micro chipped, the registration fee may be covered in the implantation cost. Ask if there is an additional registration or annual fee you need to pay in order to ensure the chip will be a beneficial tool. It is important to research the various microchip companies, the fees involved, and the services they provide in order to find which brand is best for you and your pet.

It is a good idea to register with the manufacturer, but you can also register the chip with a universal database or elect this option instead. Two examples of universal databases are HomeAgain and PetLink. Universal databases may offer additional services, including but not limited to, a 24/7 emergency hotline, lost pet guidance, lost pet alerts, travel assistance for pets found far from home, microchip tags for the collar, online search, and direct connection to the finder of your pet.

If you cannot afford the fees that often come with some of these databases, consider utilizing Free Pet Chip Registry. This company is working to become a universal and free database for microchip registration.

How is a microchip read?

Image of person using microchip scanner wand over dog's back between shoulder blades.
Microchip scanner.

A microchip is read using a scanner. Vets, shelters, clinics, and many police and fire stations have scanners which they wave over the pet’s body. If a chip is present, the scanner will initiate and read the radio frequency of the chip and the assigned ID code will appear on the screen. Codes are categorized by microchip companies. The corresponding company is then contacted to look up owner information within their database. General databases can also be used to search for owner information and may cover multiple brands.

If your chip is registered and up to date, the company will be able to contact you and inform you where your pet is and who to contact to retrieve your pet. Micro chipping greatly increases the chances of pet recovery, especially when a collar and tags can fall off or be removed.

How can I be a proactive owner?


If registration is offered through your veterinarian, clinic, or shelter: call the database company to verify your information is entered correctly and verify their terms of service.

· Keep a record of your pet’s microchip number, the contact information for the manufacturer and the database the chip is registered in. Provide a record for your regular veterinarian if the pet was not chipped at their office. Always leave this information with a family member, boarding facility, or pet sitter if you are traveling away from your pet.

· Update your information anytime you move or change your phone number. If you register an emergency contact, ensure this information is up to date as well.

· Have your vet or clinic scan your pet’s chip once a year to ensure effectiveness.

Where can I get my pet micro chipped and how much will it cost?

If you have a veterinarian, call and ask about their microchips to find out the manufacturer and cost. Always ask if registration is included and if the company they use charges annual fees as prices can vary.

Call Kaibab Animal Hospital at (480) 947-8113 today for an appointment to get your pet microchipped. We use HomeAgain microchips and include a tag for your pet’s collar as well as registration. If you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to give us a call and one of our staff members will be happy to assist you.

We are open Monday through Friday 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Saturdays from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM and Sundays 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Kaibab Animal Hospital is located at 3010 North 68th Street Scottsdale, AZ 85251.

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