Everything Pet Owners Should Know About Microchipping and How It Can Save Their Pets

Once a microchip is implanted in your pet, it stays in place and lasts for their lifetime.

Microchip scanning a young French Bulldog.
Photo: Getty

You’ve seen the stories: Pets lost for years and years find their way back home. These are real-world Homeward Bound tales, and many are possible because of microchips.

Microchipping is an inexpensive and easy way to make sure your pet is always carrying the information they need to find their way home. Unfortunately, not all pet owners know about the beauty of microchipping and how helpful it can during those worst-case scenarios where your pets go missing.

To help pet owners understand how this one-time choice can lead your pet home for years to come, Aimee Gilbreath of Michelson Found Animals Foundation— the creator of the first, free national microchip registry — created a simple guide to microchipping below.

What are microchips?

Microchips are rice-sized chips that are scannable and contain your pet’s unique number, it’s like their social security number. This can be scanned by a shelter or vet, and the number is used to find the pet’s owner. It is not a GPS device and does not contain any personal information.

Why do I need a microchip?

Pets get lost all the time – they run off, slip out of collars and slide through gates. No one likes to think about losing a pet – but being prepared just in case will increase the likelihood that they’ll get back to you and give you peace of mind.

Does it hurt my pet?

Implanting a microchip is a simple procedure and vets say it’s like getting a vaccine. Once it’s implanted, it stays in place and lasts for their lifetime.

Where do I get my pet microchipped?

When you adopt a pet, they are usually microchipped at the shelter. Veterinary offices also do the procedure.

Do I need to do anything else once I get a microchip?

Yes, the microchip only works if you’ve registered it – go to foundanimals.org, the first free national microchip registry, and enter your information. Remember to keep it updated if your phone number or address changes. This ensures that you can be contacted if your pet is found.

If you still have questions about microchipping, talk to your vet and visit foundanimals.org for more helpful resources.

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