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Benefits of Microchipping Pets

Updated on December 31, 2013
Keil the border collie puppy
Keil the border collie puppy | Source

Keil the border collie was just 3 months old when I got him microchipped. Not only is it ridiculously cheap to have done, it was relatively pain-free. He yelped as I expected, but what baby doesn’t cry when someone sticks a dirty great needle into them?

Microchipping is done to identify you as the owner of an animal. Vets routinely run a scanner over stray pets that are brought in their surgeries, to find out who they belong to.

Sadly, some pets have no ID tag on their collar, and no microchip.

A microchip is a tiny identifier. By scanning an animal for one, anyone with a scanner can trace that animal back to its original owner.

If your pet gets stolen, the thief cannot possibly remove this form of identification as easily as he could a collar, even with a tag.

The microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted under the skin, usually along the back behind the head, and is really hard to locate just by feeling.

Even if someone felt it, unless they were medically trained in some way, they would not know how to remove it.

So your microchipped pets can always be returned to you, should they go missing. It might not happen right away, if your animals were stolen, but sooner or later, all pets need vetenary assistance and that scanner will reveal you as being the true owner.

Of course, not all pets are stolen. Most, in fact, either wander or bolt off at some inopportune moment, never to be seen again.

You might spend the rest of your life wondering what happened to it.

With a microchip, your pet will always be returned at some stage, unless you learn it had been run over and killed on local roads. (You can telephone your local cleansing department to see if their workers lifted a dead animal off the road).

Benefits of microchipping your pet

In short, they are:

  • Anti-theft
  • stray and returned to you
  • can be used in conjunction with an intelligent cat-flap (see foot of page)

Loki the cat
Loki the cat | Source

Loki the microchipped cat

10 month old Loki was my daughter's cat, but there came a time when, out at uni all day and working in the evening to pay her way, she could no longer look after him.

I took him in, but three times he got out and escaped.

The first time he was gone for 24 hours hours, then I found him in a nearby tree.

The second time he was gone for 5 days, and when he returned his collar had been entangled round one of his front legs.

I took his collar, with ID, off. Not that I didn’t want him recognised, but because I didn’t want him trapped.

The third time, he was gone for three weeks.

This is where the full benefits of microchipping come into force.

I didn’t even know he was microchipped!

My daughter got three missed calls from her vet on her phone. She might not even have responded, if I hadn’t admitted to her that her cat was missing.

I still think of Loki as being her cat.

I didn’t even want to tell her that he gone missing.

Turns out my next door neighbour found him. She told me this cat had appeared, then disappeared, over the preceding weeks.

Then the cat started loudly meowing, repeatedly. At her door, he kept up this performance, night after night.

She felt she had to feed him. She keeps cats for pets, so she had cat food in the house.

Being a true cat lover, she took Loki to the local vet as a stray.

She didn’t leave him there, even after learning their scanner found he was microchipped and located him to a vet in the city where my daughter lives.

After learning he had been located, I telephoned the local vet, who gave me the number of the person who had him, my next door neighbour.

While it is true that we should all know our neighbours, by way of explanation can I point out that I live in a house with 8’ boundary walls,

I had no idea who my neighbour was.

If Loki the cat had not been microchipped, he would have ended up in the local animal shelter, where he would either have been re-homed, or put down.

Microchipping is a great idea and we should all ensure our pets can have the benefits of it.

Information from AMA about microchipping your pet

Is your Pet Microchipped?

See results

Keep your microchip information up-to-date

Luckily, Loki the cat was given to me by my daughter. Had it been a stranger, I may not have got him back at all, because the database that registered the cat's microchip would not have been up-to-date.

All I had to do was visit the local vet's surgery and get my name and address registered for the cat.

Now if he goes missing, a quick scan will mean he is returned to me quickly and easily.

Microchipped Intelligent Cat Flaps

I didn't even know they existed, but what a great idea!

Basically, you install a cat flap then set it to recognise your pet. Some dogs can use cat flaps too, depending on their breed or size. Or you may have several cats.

You can set a microchipped cat flap to accept entrance to all of your pets, but not others.

We all know stray cats and dogs (and even foxes) might use your cat flap to treat themselves to a free meal within your household.

Some small wild animals might be harmful to your family.

Keep then out with an intelligent cat flap that will restrict entry to your home.

Microchipping your pet will allow you access to this wonderful feature, which is easy to install and maintain.


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    • aerospacefan profile image

      John M 3 years ago from Chicago

      Excellent hub and you have given us all something to think about with our pets for sure!

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 3 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      It is a really good idea- a friend of mine adopted a cat who escaped whilst she was getting him used to her home. Two years later he was found, taken to a vet, and returned to my friend- he s a happy cat who lives close to home and does not stray out of the garden!

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 3 years ago from UK

      Sorry to hear about your cat. What an awful condition for a poor wee animal! Yes it's great how microchipping is so widespread and available. I've lost a few pets over the years when microchipping wasn't available.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Microchipping came in some time after we got our first cats. The youngest 3 are microchipped. I did not have the rest done, because we keep them as strictly indoor-only cats anyway, and they have been so for long enough that they don't even try to go out...and if I carry them out in my arms, they have a fit & want back inside. The are content to look out the windows.

      My middle-aged kitty was from a litter of a neighborhood semi-feral cat..and we had her spayed, but not chipped. It was still fairly new then, but since I don't let my cats out, I figured not needed. The vet did say, however, that it is best done when they are under anesthesia for the spay/neuter, because, " is a fairly large needle."

      Our most senior kitty is not chipped, either, and her, I do worry about, but she is far too old to worry about having it done now--she's 13 years old...but if she were to get out, even if she were chipped, by the time she could be returned, it would be too late anyway..She has epilepsy, and without her 3x daily meds, she'd be done for. She wanders around sort of stoned, without paying attention to where she's going when she is on her meds, and if she misses them, all she'd need would be for a seizure to overtake her near water or in the middle of a road.... so we're really, really careful about doors with her.

      At any rate, the animal rescue I volunteer at does microchip all the animals it puts up for adoption.

      Voted up, interesting and useful..and yes, any future pets I acquire will ALL be chipped. ;-)

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      It's not a requirement in the UK unless you want your pet to have a passport to travel abroad. They would also need their vaccinations brought up to date and an anti-rabies vaccine administered a certain amount of weeks before the travel date. There is officially no rabies in the UK, nor in most European countries, but the authorities are understandably paranoid about it.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      This is certainly an excellent idea and you have presented some great reasons for microchipping dogs and cats. Where I live, it is required so that records can be found about rabies vaccinations if the pet strays. Great article and voted up!

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      Sorry to hear about their cat , but as you say they are better knowing than not knowing. Microchipping just wasn't around 20 years ago. A miracle of modern science for pet owners.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Great hub Izzy. When a relative's cat got run over the poor thing's body was taken to the local police station. Because it was microchipped they were able to contact the family and let them know, saving them months of worrying and fretting about what had happened to their pet.

    • Deathblow profile image

      Andrew Crawley 4 years ago from Earth

      I had a neighbor who chipped their dogs. If the dogs got out, they could find them easy.

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks Eddy. Microchipping is a great invention!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A great hub for all pet lovers here; we have had both our cats micro chipped ;voting up for sure and wishing you a great year ahead.