For many people, their furry little friends have become full-fledged family members. Over the past decade, micro-chipping pets has grown in popularity as more pet owners have become proactive about keeping their pets safe. There has been some debate on whether or not this procedure is worth the risks involved. You be the judge.
Millions of animals have been euthanized every year due to pets being lost with no identification. Collars and/or licenses and ID tags can be lost, thereby leaving the animal with no way to tell who they belong to or any way to locate their home. Most of the time, this leaves shelters with no other choice but to put the cat or dog down since they cannot afford to keep all the animals that are found.
The American Humane Association reports that 1 out of every 3 pets will be lost at sometime in their life and never be recovered. Those are scary odds for pet parents. Micro-chipping a pet can cuts those odds drastically, however, enabling veterinarians and shelters in getting lost pets back to their owners much quicker.
As with any procedure, whether in dealing with humans or animals, there are some risks involved. In rare cases, infection at the injection site (between the shoulders normally) has been reported. There is also a slight chance of a tumor forming around the chip which is roughly the size of a rice grain. Sometimes the chip can migrate to another area in the pet’s body and cause irritation or infection, but this is unusual. Your vet inserts the chip through a needle. The procedure is very quick and the discomfort to your pet is minimal. In many cases, your pet will not even feel the needle.
All microchips are not the same. There are several different manufacturers, each requiring their own scanner. In some cases, the same scanner can be used with different microchips. This can make it difficult for vets and shelters that do not have all of the scanners, but often the companies that make the chips donate scanners to various organizations, easing some of the financial burden. There are certain chips that are better if you travel abroad frequently. Consult your vet on this.
The ASPCA advocates the use of microchips, stating that the chances of Fido being reunited with his family are much improved when he has a chip. The average cost of a microchip is anywhere from $25 to $55. The price can depend on which manufacturer a chip is from and the fee your vet charges. In the case of adoption from a shelter, the cost of the chip is usually included in the adoption fee. The ASPCA also recommends that traditional collars and ID tags be used in conjunction with the microchips, increasing your pet’s chances of being brought home even more.
Although the microchips are so helpful, they will not be if the contact information listed in the registry is outdated or incorrect. It’s a good practice to update your information every time you move to ensure that a vet or shelter will be able to get in touch with you. There are different registries, some that cross over into other registries, which makes it easier to locate an owner.
These electronic registries are much more efficient than tacking up posters on telephone poles or in stores. They are permanent and cannot blow away or be torn down. Some registries charge a fee (paid once usually) for registration. This fee is usually less than $20, a nominal cost for peace of mind. Some also offer packages for multiple pet registrations, cutting the owner’s expense.
A pet can be chipped when they are around six to eight weeks of age. At this age, a pet is not yet trained to stay around or with an owner and the chances of them getting lost are very high. The chip is an excellent way to make sure a straying youngster is returned to their family. For breeders and owners of expensive dogs, the chip makes even more sense, not only from an emotional and humane point of view, but an economical one.
In these cases, if the animal is stolen and the perpetrator takes the animal to the vet for any reason and the vet scans the animal, the vet can discover the real owner and have the animal returned. The chip also aids animal control officials in prosecuting offenders and in enforcing licensing of pets in their area.
All in all, the scale tips drastically in favor of micro-chipping pets. The costs of micro-chipping are minimal along with potential risks. The chip helps give your family peace of mind, knowing that your favorite furry loved one is much safer in the event they are lost, and helps their chances of coming home again.