A dog running in the brush.

It can happen to even the most watchful and caring pet parents: the front door is left open, a loose screen gets pushed out, or an excited dog wriggles his way out of his collar. In the United States, more than 10 million cats and dogs are reported missing each year. When a pet runs away, it’s absolutely heartbreaking, which is why the caring team at Blue Valley Animal Hospital wants pet parents to understand the benefits of having their pets microchipped.

We know you have questions, so read on to learn more about this important part of pet safety

What is a Microchip?

A microchip is simply a tiny computer chip, roughly the size of a grain of rice, that contains a unique identification number assigned to the pet and the registry contact information. Microchips are not GPS tracking devices; they serve as a form of identification only. 

Is Microchipping Safe? 

The answer is a resounding yes! Microchips are implanted with a needle and syringe, much like a vaccine, and require no anesthesia. The microchip is implanted just beneath the surface of the skin, usually at the base of the neck between your pet’s shoulder blades. The procedure is simple and can be performed at your pet’s routine checkup

How Does a Microchip Work?

Each microchip contains the pet’s unique identification number and phone number for the registry containing the pet owner’s contact information. A special scanner is needed to check for a microchip. If a microchip is detected, the scanner will display the pet’s ID number and registry phone number. The veterinary clinic, rescue organization, or animal shelter can call the registry to obtain the pet owner’s contact information. The microchip itself does not contain personal information. We will provide you with the registry information when your pet is microchipped. You must register your pet and keep your pet’s microchip information up-to-date. 

How Does a Microchip Benefit My Pet? 

Return-to-owner rates are significantly higher for pets with microchips, meaning your pet is far less likely than his non-microchipped counterparts to end up living in a shelter. The Ohio State University conducted a study of 53 animal shelters and found that dogs with microchips were more than twice as likely to be reunited with their owners (52.2 percent vs. 21.9 percent) and microchipped cats were 20 times more likely to be returned home (38.5 percent vs. 1.8 percent). Pets should still wear collars with updated tags. But in the event that your pet’s collar comes off or gets damaged, the microchip provides a permanent form of identification that cannot fall off or become illegible. 

Still Have Questions?

We’re here to help! Microchipping is safe and gives you the best chance of being reunited with a lost pet. Please contact us at (913) 681-2818 if you have more questions or to schedule an appointment.