WHAT IS A MICROCHIP?
A microchip a small rice sized radio-frequency identification (RFID) implant that provides permanent ID for your pet. Microchips are implanted under the skin and between the shoulder blades of dogs and cats, but can also used as a permanent source of identification on other types of animals such as ferrets, pigs, and horses.
When properly registered microchips are the most reliable method of pet identification because unlike ID tags they cannot be lost, removed from the animal, or difficult to read over time. When an animal is found without a collar or ID tags and taken into a shelter, the first step in locating the animal's owner is to scan the pet for a microchip.
Q: Will a microchip tell me my pet’s location?
A: No. Pet microchips are not tracking devices and do not work like global positioning devices (GPS). They are radio-frequency identification (RFID) implants that provide permanent ID for your pet.
Because they use RFID technology, microchips do not require a power source like a GPS. When a microchip scanner is passed over the pet, the microchip gets enough power from the scanner to transmit the microchip’s ID number. Since there’s no battery and no moving parts, there’s nothing to keep charged, wear out, or replace. The microchip will last your pet’s lifetime.
Q: How much does it cost to microchip my pet?
A: At Midland Humane Coalition's Microchip Clinic Events we charge $20 to microchip your pet. Since the Summer of 2016 MHC has used SmartTag brand microchips which do not charge any additional fees to register or update your information. If you cannot attend one of MHC's Microchip Clinics or would like to have your pet microchipped immediately, Midland Animal Services offers microchipping for $15; however like most microchip companies, there is an additional fee to register the chips nationally or update information. Microchipping can also be done at most vet clinics.
Q: How long will my pet's microchip last?
A: A microchip will normally last the lifetime of your pet because it is composed of biocompatible materials that will not degenerate over time. The SmartTag microchip has a anti–migration feature to help ensure the chip stays where it’s implanted. Also, since microchips require no power source and have no moving parts, there’s nothing that can wear out and need to be replaced. Pet owners can also check to make sure their pet’s microchip is still working by asking a vet, Midland Animal Services, or an Enhanced Adoption Center staff member to scan it. Register your pet’s microchip in a national pet recovery database with with your contact information, so you can be contacted when your lost pet is found. Also, remember to keep your contact information up to date whenever you move or change phone numbers. SmartTag brand chips include a lifetime registration that requires no fees to update any of your contact information.
Q: How do I make sure my pet's chip information is up to date.
A: If you know the brand and chip number of your pet's microchip call the chip manufacturers number and ask, or look it up on their website. If you do not know your pet's microchip number, have your pet scanned at Midland Animal Services, your veterinarian's office, or the Enhanced Adoption Center. Remember keeping your information up to date is vital in having your pet returned to you should they become lost!
Q: Will it hurt my pet when they get the microchip implanted?
A: We aren't going to lie, it is going to sting a little, but no more than a routine vaccination. The microchip comes preloaded in a sterile applicator and is injected under the loose skin between the shoulder blades. The process takes only a few seconds and your pet will not react any more than he would to a vaccination. No anesthetic is required for a microchip implant.
Q: How old/large does my pet have to be to get a microchip?
A: It is best to wait until after your pet is weaned at 8-10 weeks before having a microchip implanted. Midland Humane Coalition now carries mini-microchips which are pre-loaded in a smaller 15 gauge needle, ideal for small dogs, cats, birds, and small animals.