Why Chip?

Your pet is lost, what do you do? It can be the most hopeless feeling when it comes to a missing pet companion. The month of May is, “National Chip Your Pet Month”. This month was created to educate responsible pet parents on the importance of microchipping your furry friend.

Sara Forsberg · May 25, 2021

Why Chip?

Your pet is lost, what do you do? It can be the most hopeless feeling when it comes to a missing pet companion. The month of May is, “National Chip Your Pet Month”. This month was created to  educate responsible pet parents on the importance of microchipping your furry friend.

When it comes to statistics about lost pets, the numbers are concerning. One in three pets will become lost or stolen at some point in their lives, and it can easily happen to you! I lost my indoor/ outdoor cat, Callie, three times after a move and two of the times she was found, both times was reunited with our family because of her microchip.

Your pet’s chances of coming back to you increase dramatically if they have a microchip. Petfinder cites a study from the American Veterinary Medical Association that claims “only 22 percent of lost dogs who enter shelters are reunited with their humans”. However, that percentage increased to over 52 percent for dogs who had microchips. The statistics are more than enough reason to microchip your beloved pup (or precious kitty).

What Is a microchip?

A microchip is a tiny computer chip, about the size of a grain of rice, that an animal healthcare provider can implant beneath your pet’s skin; usually between the shoulder blades. When the microchip is scanned by a police department or animal control, veterinarian or shelter, it transmits the ID number. There’s no power or batteries required. The microchip is injected under the scruff between your dog’s shoulder blades and can be done in your vet’s office.  This procedure is relatively painless and no more invasive than a vaccination. Some vets discount the rate for microchipping if it’s done at the same time your pet is being put under anesthesia for something routine or being spayed or neutered.

The average cost to have a microchip implanted is around $40-$50. However, many shelters now include the cost in adoption fees and microchip pets before they go to forever homes.

Each microchip has a unique number, which goes into a pet database. Veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, and humane societies as well as many police stations have microchip readers. Anyone with a scanner can quickly run it over your dog’s shoulders, allowing them to read the microchip information.

Your pet has a microchip, now what?

The unique identifier in the chip doesn't help unless it has been registered with a national pet recovery database. You’ll want to use a recovery service that has access to different microchip databases and technology.

There may be a small one-time fee to register your information with the database. That said, it’s still much easier than if your pet gets lost without tags, and the comfort of having the microchip as a backup is priceless!

When you register your dog’s microchip, make sure to enter all relevant contact information correctly. It’s a good idea to include phone numbers for you, anyone else in your household who is responsible and even an emergency contact- a friend or family member. You don’t want to miss a call telling you that your fur baby has been found. Remember to keep your contact information up to date with the registry, too. Once you’ve registered it, it is your responsibility to update the registry with any changes to your contact information. You’ll need the microchip’s registration number. If you forgot, you can have it scanned by your veterinarian.

While microchip technology has advanced, different registries offer different services. Some provide a lost pet alert that broadcasts your missing fur baby’s information to a network of vets, shelters, and even volunteers in your area. If your pet goes missing, you can log into the registry website and report them as missing. They will share your pet’s description and any photos you have uploaded to shelters and vets in your area (this is how my cat Callie was found one of the times!). Some services also have a special link to print out missing pet flyers if you need them as well.

One bonus with microchips is the option to have a pet door installed unique to your pet’s microchip. You will have peace of mind to let your pet come and go through the pet door to have fun outside. It also saves you from having to worry about stray animals wandering into your house!

Do not rely on just a collar with tags

Tags, collars, and harnesses could break off or be removed. Even tags over time can become hard to read. A microchip will permanently identify your pet when it gets lost or if it is ever stolen. One of the really nice things about the microchip is it is always with your dog, it is safely stored just under your dog’s skin. Plus, it’s linked to you and your veterinarian. So even if you change phone numbers and forget to update your registration online, the chip is still linked to your veterinarian, who is very likely to have your current contact information.

Some things to remember about microchips

A downside to a microchip is that this form of identification won’t work unless your pet is taken to someone who has a scanner. However animal shelters and vets offer the microchip readers for free or for a very small fee, so almost all of them have readers available.

Although a properly implanted chip cannot get lost or damaged, and in some very rare cases  a microchip will migrate. It’s a good idea to have your vet scan your dog each year when they go for their annual exam. Your vet can make sure that the chip is still in the correct location and functioning properly.

If you move, make sure to update your contact information in the microchip registry and confirm that your local police/ animal control department, vet and shelters have the technology you would need for your pets. While a microchip alone can go a long way in helping reunite fur babies and their owners, it’s the responsibility of the owner to understand and be able to utilize the technology correctly.

Remember, a microchip is not foolproof and all pets should wear a collar and tags that include their owner’s contact info, the tag that comes with their microchip and a tag with current rabies vaccination info.

Microchipping does not guarantee your pet is 100% lost proof, but at least it increases your chances of being reunited with your pet again after you've been separated. It also helps protect your fur baby from being stolen and then from being sold. It is an efficient way to identify your pet because microchips cannot be tampered with.

The cost of microchipping your dog or cat is well worth the peace of mind of knowing your fur baby can easily be returned if they go missing. It’s a simple procedure, it’s not expensive, and the risks are minimal. Since May is National Chip Your Pet Month, some veterinarians run specials on this simple and affordable service, so check with your vet with questions and to make an appointment for your beloved companion.




Sara Forsberg

Sara Forsberg

Sara has been part of the BARF team since 2019. She is responsible for some admin duties, helping keep the office running smoothly and support for Rob Jr. and the rest of the team. She has been passionate about animals since a small child growing up with a Siberian Husky and 3 cats, and as an adult having a Labrador Retriever that suffered from a lot of allergy problems. She now has a rescue orphaned kitten, Poppy, and a new addition in another Lab named Jax. She has 7 children that keep her busy in most of her spare time; but enjoys anything on or near the water, spending time with friends and family, music, reading and cooking.


Add Comment

Comments will appear once approved

What is BARF?

"BARF®" is our acronym that means Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It is a complete and carefully balanced blend of raw meat, fruits, vegetables and bone. Our formula mimics what nature has designed our pet's to thrive on in the wild. The result is a pet free of allergies, digestive problems, and full of life!

Latest Posts