In the U.S., roughly 54.4 million households own dogs and 38.9 million households own cats.

Pets are a lot of fun and can lead to strong emotional bonds that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, of the 8 million animals that end up in shelters each year, only between 15% and 20% of dogs and less than 2% of cats are ever reclaimed by their owners. A great way to prevent this stressful situation is through microchipping your dog or cat. Microchipping your dog or cat involves placing a small chip underneath their skin. That chip has a unique number on it and can be identified or read by a scanner. Animal medical centers, animal control officers, and animal shelters often look for microchips to return lost pets to their owners.

Here are some frequently asked questions about microchipping your dog or cat:

Will microchipping your dog or cat hurt them?

No! Pet owners are worried about procedures like this because it seems invasive and painful, but it really isn’t! Microchipping your dog or cat does not require any kind of anesthetic and won’t hurt any more than a routine vaccination.

How long will the implantation process last?

Though you’ll have to go through the proper channels and fill out all the logistical forms, the entire microchipping implementation process will only take a minute or two.

In addition to vets, who else uses microchips?

Microchips are also used by breeders, brokers, kennels, trainers, registries, humane societies, farms, stables, clinics, pet stores, rescue groups, animal clubs and associations, and researchers.

What other animal species have been microchipped?

In addition to cats and dogs, many animal species have been microchipped, including: llamas, alpacas, goats, parrots, horses, rabbits, sheep, deer, ferrets, sharks, penguins, snakes, alligators, turtles, lizards, frogs, toads, rare fish, chimpanzees, mice, elephants, and whales. Also, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses microchipping for research of black-footed ferrets, grizzly bears, elk, wild bison, armadillos, and giant land tortoises.

How often do I need to microchip my pet?

It’s best to regularly visit animal medical centers and speak with professional veterinarians who can update you on the status of your pet’s microchip. However, since they are constructed of biocompatible materials that won’t degenerate over time, most pet microchips will last a lifetime.

Can I use my pet’s microchip like a GPS?

Unfortunately, no — microchips are not tracking devices and they do not work like GPS devices. They are radio-frequency identification (RFID) implants that provide a unique (and permanent) ID for your cat or dog.

If your pet runs away, you’re going to be stressed out and worried — no matter what. If they have a microchip equipped, however, it’s only a matter of time before your precious pet is returned to you! If you want to learn more about microchipping your dog or cat, speak with your pet’s medical center professionals.

You don’t need to wait for an emergency to become familiar with our veterinary services. Get the best care you can find for all of your pet’s health needs. We are more than just an animal hospital. Contact us today or directly call us at 520-888-3177 for more information about our specialty and 24-hour emergency services.