Life-saving decisions aren’t always big—sometimes, they’re no bigger than a rice grain.

According to the American Humane Society, approximately 10 million pets are lost or stolen every year. Microchipping is a simple, effective, and affordable method that can ensure your beloved pet is identified and returned to you should the unthinkable happen.

If that sounds like a big promise for a rice-grain-sized device, heed some neighborly advice—here are five reasons why the Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Waller team believes every pet deserves a microchip. 

#1: Microchips permanently identify pets

Unlike collars and tags, microchips provide lifelong identification and do not break, fail to provide information (e.g., become illegible), or become lost after implantation. Microchips are implanted under the loose skin between your pet’s shoulders using a hypodermic needle in a one-time process that can be performed without sedation during any outpatient appointment. The process is relatively painless, although some pets experience the same mild, temporary discomfort they feel after a vaccination.

Although some migration is possible (i.e., the chip moves away from the implantation site), this risk is reduced by ensuring only a veterinary professional implants your pet’s microchip.

#2: Microchips make updating your pet’s contact information easy

After your dog or cat is microchipped, you must register their chip number with the microchip manufacturer’s national database. This critical step links your pet’s unique microchip number to your contact information, and if your lost pet is taken to an animal shelter or veterinary practice, personnel can scan the microchip, report the chip number to the database, and contact you using the information provided.

If your contact information changes, updating your pet’s microchip database profile is easy, fast, and free. Once you register the chip, you can access your pet’s information at any time through your online account or by calling the microchip manufacturer. In addition to your own information, you can add alternate contact methods or secondary contacts (e.g., family, friends) in case you are unreachable. 

#3: Your pet’s microchip can connect rescuers with critical health information

Collars and tags limit the amount of information you can provide about your pet, so you are  forced to either omit pertinent details about medications or health conditions, or your pet must wear multiple tags. 

Microchip registries provide ample space for your pet’s essential information, including chronic health conditions, invisible medical risks (e.g., seizure alert, blindness, allergies), daily medications, and notes about your pet’s personality (e.g., fearful, don’t chase, will come for treats).

This detailed information can help those who are searching or caring for your pet to provide successful and potentially life-saving care.

#4: Most microchip registries provide lost pet support 

When your pet is missing, you likely cannot think clearly or know how to respond. Many microchip registries provide powerful lost-pet support services and resources that can increase your search radius and improve the chances of reuniting with your pet. Such services vary by manufacturer and may include:

  • Pet recovery support — Many registries include live, expert online or phone support, including advice on searching successfully and handling the emotional stress of a missing pet.
  • Email notifications to nearby shelters and veterinarians — Nearby pet businesses and fellow participating pet lovers will be notified about your pet, including their last known location, breed, markings, and any medical needs.
  • Lost pet posters — Ready-to-print flyers with your pet’s profile information are provided for fast dispersal and a faster homecoming.

Although every microchip registry provides lifetime identification services, additional benefits and perks may require an annual membership fee. Always check with your pet’s microchip registry to confirm your pet’s benefits.

#5: Microchips provide priceless peace-of-mind for pet owners

You can’t put a price tag on your pet’s welfare and safety, which makes microchipping extremely  economical for achieving peace of mind. When your pet is microchipped and registered, you can feel better prepared for unexpected events, such as:

  • Disasters and emergencies — Your pet may not be wearing their collar, but they always have their microchip.
  • Evacuations — Emergency evacuations are stressful, but microchipped pets are always ready.
  • Travel — Microchips are required for some transportation methods. If your pet will be traveling internationally, ask us about an ISO-compliant microchip. 
  • Identity disputes — Microchips are the best way to positively identify your pet during an ownership dispute.

Like many safety devices, your pet’s microchip is a critically important item that you’ll hopefully never need to use. But, if the unthinkable happens, and you and your four-legged friend are separated, this tiny tool can play a big role in their successful return.

If you need to check your pet’s microchip registration or want to schedule a microchip appointment, contact your trusted southeast Texas veterinary neighbors at Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Waller.