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What You Need to Know about Microchipping

Are you considering microchipping your pets? Learn the facts about pet microchipping and how it works.

What is micropchipping?

The pet microchip is a miniscule electronic chip in a tiny glass capsule. It is about as large as a grain of rice. When a chip scanner is passed over the area in which the chip is implanted, the radiowaves from the scanner will activate the chip, allowing the information on it to be read.

Can the microchip locate my pet?

The pet microchip is not a GPS tracking device. It is a radio-frequency identification implant, or RFID. It has no moving parts and no battery; it does not need a power source. Once placed beneath your pet's skin, it remains there, inert, for the rest of your pet's life. If your pet becomes lost, a veterinarian or shelter worker can use a scanner to read the information encoded on the microchip, contact the chip's manufacturer, and obtain your name, address and phone number from their database.

My pet has a collar and tags. Why does he need microchipped?

A pet microchip offers your pet an additional level of protection in case he loses his collar and tags. Your pet cannot lose his microchip; it will stay with him forever.

It is still a good idea to put identification tags on your microchipped pet. Your pet should also wear his rabies tag; the microchip does not replace it.

How does the microchip work to identify my pet?

The manufacturer of the microchip keeps a record of the names and contact information of every pet owner who registers a microchip pet. It is important that you contact your chip manufacturer and give them your contact information, and keep it updated if you move or change numbers. If the chip manufacturer does not have your information, the microchip will be worthless.

How is the pet microchip implanted?

The pet microchip is inserted beneath the skin using a large-bore hypodermic needle. It is a relatively painless procedure that takes only a moment to perform, and hurts about as much as any other shot.

Can the microchip get lost in my pet’s body?

No. Once our veterinarian implants the microchip under your pet's skin, connective tissues will form and will hold it in place. While it is possible that the microchip could migrate slightly before that happens, it will stay in pretty much the same location as where it was inserted.

Does a pet microchip need replaced?

In general, no, a pet microchip never needs maintenance or replacement. They are designed to remain functional throughout your pet's life. The only thing you need to do is make sure that you register your pet's chip with the manufacturer and keep your contact info up to date in the manufacturer's database.

You can ask our Portsmouth veterinarian to scan the chip during your pet's yearly wellness exam to make sure it is still functioning.