Is microchipping worth it? Absolutely! According to a study of more than 7,500 animals brought to 53 participating shelters, microchipped animals had a much higher chance of being reunited with their guardians. Microchipped dogs were reunited more than 50% of the time, while dogs without microchips were claimed by guardians only 21.9% of the time. Similarly, microchipped cats were reunited 38.5% of the time, compared to just under 2% for cats without microchips. But what exactly is a microchip?
Companion animal guardians have been taking advantage of microchip technology as a means of permanent identification since the 1980s. More than 4 million animals and counting have received microchip implants.
Why microchips? Cat and dog tags and collars can fall off or be removed. Microchips, on the other hand, are permanent, which means that your companion animal will have increased protection in the case of theft or in the event that he or she becomes lost.
Why Should I Microchip My Dog or Other Animal Companions?
A microchip can help you reunite with your animal companion, whether a door was left ajar or a natural disaster occurred—or you were separated for any other reason. Should cats be microchipped? Yes—even though cats should live indoors, they should still be microchipped just in case they slip outside and become lost.
Microchips can be scanned by most veterinarians and many shelters—often the first stops if an animal is picked up by a good Samaritan. Microchips have also helped in efforts to press charges in cases of theft and cruelty—and to hold people accountable for endangering their animals by allowing them to roam freely.
Is It Difficult to Get a Dog or Cat Microchipped?
The microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) is inserted under an animal’s skin between the shoulder blades, and the process takes just a few seconds. Fortunately, microchipping your animal companion won’t hurt your pocketbook. On average, having a microchip implanted costs around $30—in addition to a $12-to-$15 registration fee to add your animal’s ID to the national registry. Some free or low-cost opportunities are likely available in your area—ask a local vet or shelter about any programs in your community. It’s also important to note that microchips need to be registered to link your animal back to you.
Microchips Are Great, but Take Other Precautions, Too
To keep animals safe, PETA recommends that they should never be left outdoors without supervision. Microchipping is simply an additional safeguard for your animal—not a substitute for responsibly keeping an animal safe indoors and tagged.