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Microchipping your PetHave you considered microchipping your pet? Or does your pet already have one?  If so, then make an appointment with your veterinarian to get your chip checked.  Each August the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends an annual check to make sure microchips are still in place and working properly.

Consider this a yearly tune-up that helps keep your pets safe, healthy and close to home. For pet owners that are just considering microchipping their pets, this could be the perfect time to learn more. Here are a few key answers and lots of information to that can help shine a light on the technology, process, benefits and risks of microchipping pets.

What Is A Microchip?

A microchip is a radio frequency identification technology commonly known as RFID. Microchips can be as small as a grain of rice and are implanted just under the skin of animals. These chips transmit a radio frequency that can be scanned to confirm the identity of the animals.

For any pet owner that has lost a pet or had pets run away, microchips bring comfort and relief. Lost dogs are twice as likely to be reunited with their owners if they are chipped and cats are 20% more likely. Pets are valuable and special parts of any family, and yet there are circumstances where they can get lost or may run away.

When families move homes, many animals may become disoriented and run away or get lost. And, unfortunately, there are rare instances where pets are actually stolen. Microchipping is one more safeguard that pet owners can use to increase the chances of the safe return of their animal should any of these situations occur.

For those who are new to the idea, there may be questions.

How Are Chips Used?

Microchips are used by pet or animal owners to track animals that are within their care. Chipping is available for various species of animals from dogs and cats to horses, cows, alpacas and even elephants.

Once a chip is implanted in an animal, the chip gives off a frequency that can be identified by a microchip reader. Microchips are not designed to be tracking devices.

Microchip readers and the microchip will have to be in close proximity to one another. When a lost pet is found, it is often taken to an animal shelter. These shelters have chip readers that can scan the lost animal’s chip and tell the shelter its true identity.

Procedures for Implanting

Chips are implanted just under the skin in animals. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is working to create standard implant sites for specific species of animals throughout the world. They have released a series of helpful guidelines for pet owners and veterinarians.

The recommended site for implanting chips in dogs and cats is below the skin along the upper back, near the shoulder blades. There are actual global standards being negotiated for chip implant sites for animals, which is helpful for families or animal owners who may move or relocate to other countries. It is comforting to know that all over the world veterinarians are thinking about the well-being of your pets and how to keep you together.

Importance of Checking the Chip

Microchips can move after being implanted. This is an important reason to do the annual “chip check” to make sure your pet’s chip is still in place. This movement is sometimes referred to as a “chip migration” and typically happens just after implantation.

Checking the chip regularly is the key to make sure your pet’s chip is still in place and working properly. Make an appointment to have your pet’s chips checked and enjoy the peace of mind knowing that you are doing all you can to keep your pet safe, healthy and close to home.

For more information about microchipping, annual “Check the Chip” events or for other questions, please visit the Longview Animal Hospital online at or call 903-807-0887 for a consultation or to make an appointment.

And please enjoy this infographic from the American Animal Hospital Association (AVMA) that has more helpful information about how microchips bring lost pets and owners back together.