Each year, millions of pets are lost in the United States. While some cats and dogs are lost only for a few hours, some never find their families again. Do you wonder about the difference in recovering—or not—a lost pet, in addition to an active local animal control and shelter agency? A current, permanent identification form—a microchip—is key.

If you purchased a pet, or welcomed a stray, or a family member’s pet, into your home, your furry pal may not have a microchip. Most pets from animal shelters are microchipped during their stay while they wait for homes, and the new owner must update the microchip registration with their information. To answer all your questions about pet microchips, check out our “Did you know?” facts.

#1: Did you know microchips are tiny?

Although microchips are inserted with a larger needle than a vaccine, they are tiny devices—roughly the size of a grain of rice.  

#2: Did you know most pets handle microchipping like vaccinations?

If your pet is highly food-motivated, and we have their favorite treat on hand, there’s an excellent chance they won’t notice our team slipping a microchip under their skin. Similar to vaccinations, a microchip is inserted under the skin with a syringe and needle. The microchip needle is larger, but most pets don’t mind the implant any more than their vaccinations. 

#3: Did you know microchips are the only permanent identification form for pets?

While pets can be tattooed, these permanent marks typically only indicate the pet has been spayed or neutered. Microchips are the only permanent identification form with a national, searchable registry database. Although there are several major microchip manufacturers, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has created a universal microchip lookup tool that allows the user to contact the microchip registration company.

#4: Did you know microchips do not share your personal information?

Many people worry that microchips share their address, phone number, and other personal information; however, that is not the case. When scanned, a microchip will emit a unique identification number that allows the registration company to locate the owner, who they will then contact personally. 

#5: Did you know microchipped pets who go missing are much more likely to be reunited with their families?

In a 2009 study of more than 7,700 stray animals entered into the ASPCA database showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 2.2% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time. To summarize, pets with microchips were over 20 times more likely to be reunited with their families than pets without microchips. 

#6: Did you know microchips last the life of your pet?

Microchips are composed of biocompatible materials that do not degrade, so they should last the life of your pet. They also have no moving parts, and require no batteries or power source, so they do not wear out, or need replacement.

#7: Did you know microchips are cost-effective?

Compared with the high cost of heartbreak over a missing pet, a microchip, which can ensure your beloved companion has a permanent identification form that cannot fall off, be removed, or become illegible, is incredibly economical.

#8: Did you know microchips are rarely felt after insertion?

Some pets with thin skin and short hair coats may have palpable microchips, but the insertion site or the microchip itself should not be painful after the initial implant procedure. Most pets’ fur or fat layer is thick enough that you cannot feel their microchip under the skin.

#9: Did you know anesthesia is not required for a microchip implant?

While we may recommend microchipping your pet during an already-scheduled anesthetic procedure, such as a spay or neuter, sedating or fully anesthetizing your furry pal for a microchip implant is not necessary. Most pets handle microchipping well, especially with a tasty treat in front of their nose. 

#10: Did you know Homestead Animal Hospital can microchip your pet at any age?

Microchipping is most commonly performed in puppies and kittens, but pets of any age can be microchipped. If you welcome an older stray pet into your home, or adopt an adult pet, we can easily microchip them during a wellness visit, or a special microchipping appointment. 

Your best friend is a beloved family member, and you want to ensure their safety should they ever slip out an open door. Guarantee a happy reunion—call our hospital, and schedule a quick microchipping appointment for your furry pal.