The invisible, lifetime leash. Having your pet microchipped is one of the most straightforward procedures performed, but offers one of the most significant benefits: peace of mind. We never know when the worst may happen and ensuring that your beloved pets are microchipped, provides a sense of security that far outweighs its small size.

What does the procedure consist of?

An electronic device that is roughly grain-sized is injected under their skin between the shoulder blades using a sterile hypodermic needle. It is activated by passing a scanner over it which will detect the chip identification number. Different chips work with different frequencies and can last for up to twenty-five years. The procedure is relatively painless; not unlike a routine vaccination; however, a local anaesthetic can be administered if needed. Alternatively, the chipping can be done during the desexing procedure. By 12 weeks old, most dogs and cats are already microchipped. That said, it is never too late to take precautions, and even older dogs can have it done. Many other animals, such as horses, can also be microchipped. It would be best if you never attempted to microchip your pet yourself as this can lead to severe complications. Your veterinarian will be able to perform the task quickly and safely instead. If you are adopting a pet, make sure to check if they are chipped before leaving.

When is it used?

If your pet gets lost, you have a much higher chance of getting them back if they are chipped. The chip ID can be cross-referenced with any shelters that may have picked them up. Alternatively, the shelter can contact you on the phone number that you have registered on the database; thus, your details must be kept up to date. There is a high return-rate of microchipped pets found in shelters. Still, unfortunately, there is a mismatch between microchipped pets and accurate pet parents’ information, which renders the chip’s purpose null and void. It is important to note that microchips are not a replacement for identity tags, and these should still be attached to your pet’s collar at all times.

Are there risks to microchipping?

Adverse reactions from the insertion of the microchip are highly unlikely, with very few reported cases. There can be situations when the chip does not work, or they might migrate out soon after implant and fall out. It is a good idea to have your vet scan the chip at each visit so that you are aware of its location. In case the chip cannot be found, your pet must have a collar with a tag as a second security measure. The chances of your pet getting lost are far more likely than the occurrence of an adverse reaction, and the safety and peace of mind that this tiny device offers far outweighs the risk. Microchipping is becoming a legal obligation in some countries, including New Zealand.

There are many different brands of microchips, and it would be best to speak to us about a suitable option for your pet. In essence, it is a quick and inexpensive way to help ensure you and pet will be happily reunited.