The repeatedly ringing doorbell, scary costumes, and endless lines of treat-seeking kids may sound like Halloween fun to you, but this holiday can be downright terrifying for your pet. When animals are frightened, their fight-or-flight response takes over, prompting them to hide under the bed or flee through an open door.

As many as one in three pets will run away at some point in their lifetime, and shelters fill with runaway pets after noisy holidays like Halloween and the Fourth of July. Although every dog and cat should wear a collar with an ID tag, pets can slip out of a collar, leaving no visible identification. A microchip is the only type of identification your pet can’t lose.


What is a microchip?

About the size of a grain of rice, a microchip emits a radio frequency signal that can be picked up by a scanner. When implanted under the skin of your pet, it can be scanned by a shelter or veterinary staff member. Although a microchip is not a GPS device and cannot track the location of your pet, it is programmed with a unique number that is linked to your contact information.


How is a microchip placed in my pet?

Microchip implantation does not require anesthesia or surgery and can be performed during a routine office visit. The microchip comes pre-loaded in a syringe and is simply injected under the skin between the shoulder blades. Although the needle used is slightly larger than one used for a typical injection, it is no more painful than a vaccine. Once the microchip is implanted, it stays in place for life and will never need to be replaced.


What will I need to do after the microchip is implanted?

Soon after the microchip is implanted, you will need to register your pet’s microchip number and your contact information with a national pet recovery database. If your pet should run away, a current phone number or email address will be her ticket home to you. In addition to the cost of microchip placement, there is typically a small, one-time fee for registration of the microchip number. If you move or change phone numbers, your information must be updated with the recovery database. Only the contact information that you enter into the database is accessible, so there is no need to be concerned about strangers having access to your personal information.


How will a microchip help me find my pet?

When a lost pet arrives at a shelter or veterinary office, a hand-held scanner will be run over her back to check for the presence of a microchip. If the pet has a microchip, it will emit a radio frequency signal that will be received by the scanner. Although there are multiple types of microchips that can be implanted, universal scanners are used that can detect microchips of different frequencies. A unique number will appear on the scanner display that is linked to your contact information in the pet recovery database. After searching your pet’s microchip number, a shelter worker can contact you for a happy reunion.


Does my pet really need a microchip?

Still not convinced of the benefits of a microchip? Consider these statistics from a study documented in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association:

  • Only 22 percent of dogs without microchips are reunited with their owners, whereas 52 percent of dogs with microchips return home. This means that a dog with a microchip is more than twice as likely to be returned than a dog without one.
  • Less than 2 percent of lost cats without a microchip were reunited with their owners, but more than 38 percent of cats with microchips were returned.

A microchip is a must for every dog and cat. Even if your cat does not typically go outside, she can easily slip out through a door that is opened for trick-or-treaters.

Shelters do everything they can to reunite lost pets with their owners, but without a microchip, there is not much that can be done. The longer a lost pet sits in a shelter, the more likely she’ll be taken home by another family, or even worse, euthanized.


Ready to microchip your pet? Give us a call at 303-680-5050 to set up an appointment.