A large part of pet parenthood is preparing for the unexpected. It's why we socialize our pets, so they're confident in new environments, buy them preventive-care accessories (like water bottles) and get them microchipped so if they run away, you’re more equipped to find them.
“Pets are microchipped as a way to easily identify them if they get lost,” Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, explains. “Veterinary hospitals, shelters and animal control officers have microchip scanners.”
Unfortunately, pets commonly go missing, so preparing can help you find your best friend easily. Here's how microchipping works.
“The benefit of microchipping is that they help get your missing pet back to you quickly,” Dr. McCullough says. “Microchip numbers are unique to your pet and are stored in a database that can be accessed by veterinary hospitals, animal shelters and animal control.”
The microchipping procedure is pretty simple, too. Pets can be microchipped at any age, but microchips are commonly inserted during their spay and neuter procedure.
"The microchip is loaded into a needle, and veterinarians inject the microchip under the skin, typically between their shoulder blades on their backs," she explains. "The microchip can also be implanted during a regular office visit without sedation or anesthesia, and it is similar to receiving a vaccination."
If you adopted your pet, ask your shelter if your pup already has a microchip, as it's common for rescue organizations to take care of that before adoption.
RELATED: How to adopt a pet: a step-by-step guide
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Microchips help find lost pets because scanners pick up a combination of letters and numbers unique to your cat or dog. Therefore, it's important to ensure your best friend is registered with the microchip manufacturer and that they have your most updated contact information on file.
A microchip procedure usually costs around $50, Dr. McCullough shares. And even though the price is relatively low compared to other pet services, microchips last for the entirety of your best friend’s life, making it a great investment.
If you want to double down on safety, other ways can help ensure your pet doesn't get lost. Purchase your pet an identification collar that includes your up-to-date contact information, Dr. McCullough encourages.
You can also teach your pup basic obedience commands or work with a trainer to ensure they understand cues like “come.”
The thought of losing a pet is understandably frightening, but getting your cat or dog microchipped gives you the confidence of knowing that they'll be able to be tracked if they're ever separated from you.
The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.
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