Pet Microchips and Microchip Scanners: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Microchips and Microchip Scanners FAQS

Vets In many scenarios,  pet microchips will be the contrast between a devastating ending and a happy reunion. Pet microchips play a significant role in ensuring pet owners reunite with their pets in the quickest time possible when they go astray.
Here are questions and answers concerning microchips for pets.

Can I use my phone to scan my dog’s/cat’s microchip?

No! I know it’s the 21st century, and we should have this technology already. However, we do not have a phone or App that can read a pet’s microchip. Many people in the past did not think that a phone would have a camera, and here we are now with triple and quad camera-enabled smartphones.

Let’s hope that we will have smartphones and Apps that can scan pet microchips. This innovation will absolutely be a game-changer in reuniting pet owners with their dogs, cats, and other pets. 

Do I need a microchip scanner?

Yes! It is necessary to have a microchip scanner since it will be handy in a lot of scenarios. For instance, if you stumble upon a stray dog or cat when taking your furred companion for a walk, a scanner can help you contact the owner. The same situation will be the case if your dog goes astray. Even though they are not considered essential, owning a pet scanner can be helpful for you and your pet.

If the pet you are scanning has a chip, The scanner will display a unique code through the dedicated OLED screen. You can use the unique code to check for the owners’ contact information on a national microchip database. Private companies own these databases, such as AVID, HomeAgain, and AKC Reunite. Thus, you need to contact them directly if you have a query.

Universal microchip scanners can read all kinds of microchips. Microchips have different frequencies; 134.2 kHz, 125 kHz, and 128 kHz. Universal scanners are the best option for pet owners.

Once your dog is eight weeks old, you can have it microchipped by your veterinary or a qualified animal professional.

Find a review of the top microchip scanners here

Do pet microchips save pet lives?

Pet microchips act as permanent identification for your furred friend. Therefore, you can quickly reunite with your pet through these electronic chips when they get lost or stolen. Any veterinarian or shelter can use microchip scanners to read your pet’s chip. This process will be helpful in finding your contact information. Thus, facilitating the process of reuniting you with your pet in the shortest time possible.

How Do Pet Microchips Function?

Step1: The microchip is implanted

Pet microchips are tiny electronic devices implanted under your pet’s skin, generally around the neck area. Microchips store a unique identification number that acts as your pet’s permanent ID. You cannot change the unique number.

Step 2: Register the microchip with your details

Pet owners should remember to immediately enter their contact information on the microchip company’s website once their pet receives the microchip implant. Pet parents should also update their contact details when they relocate or change their phone numbers.

Step 3: Using a microchip scanner/reader to scan microchips

You can retrieve the unique ID number by passing a microchip scanner over the area where the microchip was implanted. Scanners produce microwaves that activate the RFID microchip to convey the unique ID and details of the microchip manufacturer to the reader.

Step 4: Retrieving the contact information of the pet owner  

Animal shelters and veterinary clinics have handheld scanners that can detect your lost pet’s microchip. Therefore, they will be able to retrieve the unique ID and identify the microchip company that stores your contact information. The shelter or vet contacts the microchip company to acquire the contact information associated with the unique ID number.

If you updated your contact information on the national microchip database, you would be contacted and informed about your pet’s discovery. Thus, helping you reunite with your furred friend in the shortest time possible.   

What is the size of the needle?

The size of the hypodermic needle or the microchip needle is unique to every microchip company. However, the needles are slightly bigger than ordinary needles. The needles that vets usually use for cats and dogs are pretty smaller and range between gauges 12 to gauge 15.

How are Microchips Implanted?

Similar to a vaccine shot, pet microchips are implanted under the skin using a special needle. The needle is driven gently under the skin, and the microchip is implanted safely around the neck area. The vet typically scans the chip after the implantation process to ensure successful administration.

Where are pet microchips implanted?

The microchip is implanted around the neck area for most pets, generally between the shoulder blades, especially for dogs.

Can you feel the microchip after it’s implanted?

In some instances, you can feel the microchip when a pet has thin skin or a deteriorated condition.

Do pets feel pain during microchipping?

Microchipping is a quick and straightforward process, no less similar to a regular injection given during a regular veterinary visit. Therefore, the process is not painful.

Do microchips have side effects?

Millions of pets are microchipped annually, and the number of cases involving side effects is negligible. Researchers and professionals within the animal sector have indicated that the significance of microchipping your pet is greater than the risk of any side effect.

Despite this reassurance, the side effects reported so far range from sensitivity within the injection area for several hours to other serious effects such as tumor encapsulation or the development of an abscess.

What is the cost of microchipping your pet?

The price of pet microchips ranges from $15-$50.

Can microchips help in tracking my pet if it has one?

Unlike GPS, microchips lack the technology that facilitates tracking. Instead, chips use a unique technology regarded as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device).

When you use a microchip scanner to read microchips, it produces microwaves, which activate the chips to convey the stored unique ID number.

Do microchips need batteries to function?

Microchips function without batteries. Chips use an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) technology that allows them to release a radio frequency when activated by microwaves produced by a microchip scanner.

Can you microchip all animals?

You can have all kinds of animals microchipped, ranging from reptiles to amphibians and mammals to birds and fish. However, pet owners normally microchip cats, birds, horses, and dogs.

How do I link my contact information to the unique ID number?

When you have your pet microchipped, you will receive the unique permanent ID code and information about the company that manages the chip’s database. As a pet owner, you can go to the microchip company’s website and fill in your contact information. Concurrently, you can also contact the microchip company by phone and register your details.

Updating your contact information once they change is essential. If you fail to take this action, it would be challenging for a shelter or veterinarian to reach you and ensure you reunite with your pet. 

Does a microchip have an expiry date?

Vets implant pet microchips once. Therefore, your pet’s microchip will last throughout its lifetime.

Can microchips migrate?

Though it is rare, microchips can migrate or move once implanted. Therefore, it is essential to conduct a complete scan on lost pets other than around the neck area.  

Can I microchip my dog myself?

It is essential to go to a vet or any other animal professional to microchip your furred friend to avoid the chances of implanting it within the spine, muscle, or anywhere else that would affect your dog negatively. 

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