If your pet has ever gone missing you will know the sheer panic and distress that can be caused by not knowing if you’ll ever see your pet again. The statistics for missing animals paints a bleak picture for the chances of ever being reunited with your pet, with only roughly 20% of dogs and less than 4% of cats ever finding their way back to their worried owners.
There is hope however, and one very important thing you can do to maximize your chances of being reunited if the worst should happen is microchipping your pet.
What is microchipping?
A vet or other suitably qualified person uses a needle to plant a small microchip under the animal’s skin, with the most common position being in between the shoulder blades. Each microchip contains a unique number that can be read by a scanner and will then identify the current owners information (as long as you keep it up to date). The dog pound or vet will then contact you and you’ll be swiftly reunited with your pet. Microchipping can be employed to safeguard lots of animals including, but not limited to, dogs, horses, cats and ferrets.
Is it painful for my pet?
The procedure takes less than five minutes from start to completion and it is not necessary to sedate your pet, as it is very similar to having a regular injection. The animal may feel a slight pinch and some discomfort although some pets will not even flinch or react to the injection. The procedure does not have to be carried out by a veterinarian but it is widely considered to be best practice for a qualified vet to do so as complications can occur if it is carried out incorrectly.
Getting your pet microchipped as a stand-alone procedure will probably cost in the region of $50-60, however if it is carried out as part of another visit (i.e. general check-up) it would usually cost a little less. There are other places that may offer the service for a lower price so it is worth checking out your local animal rescue shelters and animal charities in your area.
Are there any downsides to microchipping your pet?
It is incredibly rare for an animal to suffer complications while having a microchip implanted, but as with all medical procedures there is a slight degree of risk involved. Again, it should be stressed that you ought to allow a qualified veterinarian to carry out the procedure to further minimize the already low risk.
Some studies have suggested an increased risk of cancer in animals with microchips but this has been shown to be almost negligible when the huge numbers of microchips implanted into pets is taken into account. Literally millions of pets are implanted every year and the vast majority suffers no ill effects. The possibility of your pet developing cancer as a result of the implant is incredibly small, but at the end of the day you should weigh up these risks against the benefits a microchip can bring to your pet.