What, How & Why of Microchipping

dog lost in woods, microchip

It happens! Your cat gets outside and runs off or your dog squeezes out of his collar and heads for the woods.

You try to catch them, but they are too fast and too determined. After calling and searching, your stomach becomes knotted up hoping for a safe return. While you can’t always prevent your pet from getting lost, you can increase the chances that you will be reunited with microchipping. When your dog is microchipped they are twice as likely to be returned home and your cat is more than 20 times more likely!

If your pet is not currently microchipped, learn more about the process and book an appointment at your local Vetco clinic to chip your pet.

What is a microchip?

microchip, dog, cat

A Microchip is an implant, about the size of a grain of rice, put under your pet’s skin. It is encoded with a unique number that is linked to all of your contact information in a secure database.

Why is microchipping important?

One in three pets will become lost at some point in their lives, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). One of the best ways to help ensure that you and your dog or cat will be reunited, if they get lost, is to make sure you have a microchip.

How is the microchip put in my pet?

microchip implanted, injection, dog, veterinarian

Implanting the device is actually a very simple process and can easily be done during a Vetco clinic appointment. It doesn’t even require anesthesia!

Using a hypodermic needle, similar to the kind that is used to give vaccines, the licensed Vetco veterinarian “injects” the microchip under your pet’s skin (usually between the shoulder blades). Your pet may feel a moment of discomfort but a little moment of ‘ouch’ is far better than being separated from you forever.

How does the microchip work if my pet gets lost?

Let’s say your pet goes exploring without your permission. Maybe their collar gets snagged and comes off, so they no longer have their ID. Your pet then gets picked up and dropped off at a shelter or local vet’s office, where they’re scanned for a microchip. The scan reveals your pet’s identification number and its associated registry. The vet or shelter contacts the registry, who reaches out to you to tell you where to find your pet.
That’s why it is so crucial that you register your pet’s microchip. The chip itself only transmits an ID number. It’s up to you and your vet’s office to connect that ID number to your personal information so the registry can reach you if your pet gets lost.

Do I need to microchip my pet if they wear a collar?

Yes. Collars can get loose and come off when a pet gets lost, especially if they wear a breakaway collar. Additionally, the engraving on ID tags can wear down over time, making it difficult for anyone to read them. Microchips and a collar with an ID tag are not mutually exclusive—your pet needs both.

Does the microchip track my pet’s location?

A microchip is not a GPS tracker and will not tell you where to find your pet if they get lost. A GPS microchip would need to be powered and charged making it difficult to maintain.


microchipping, cat, home

What should I do if my pet has a microchip from a previous home?

If you think your pet may already have a microchip from a previous pet parent, ask one of the Vetco vets to scan for the microchip. The vet can give you the microchip’s ID number and registry information. You’ll then need to contact the registry to change your pet’s contact information.

Is it possible for a microchip to fall out?

Within 24 hours of being microchipped, your pet’s tissue will bond to the chip, which usually prevents it from moving around. In rare cases the chip may migrate under the skin, but it will not fall out.

veterinarian checking chip under pet's / dog's skin

Once my pet is microchipped is there any maintenance?

Your pet’s microchip should last throughout their life and not require any maintenance. The only things you need to do are register the microchip and update your account whenever you move or get a new phone number. That is the very best way to help ensure your dog or cat is reunited with you if they ever go missing.

Is it expensive to have my pet microchipped?

Vetco clinic licensed veterinarian with dog

The cost of microchipping is minimal compared to the lifetime protection that you are giving your pet. When you purchase a microchip at a Vetco Clinic, you receive the following FREE Pet Protection Services from 24PetWatch:

  • The ability to report a lost or found pet online anytime at mypethealth.com
  • A complimentary basic online profile with your contact information and the ability to update your contact information online
  • Timely and convenient automated lost-pet service calls and emails


Book your Vetco clinic appointment today at Best Friends Pet Hotel, and get your pet microchipped!