Misconceptions About Pet Microchips: Advantages & Drawbacks

(MS) — In the past, the only way people protected their animals from harm was by attaching identification tags to their pets’ collars. These tags could be used to locate an animal in the event that it became lost. Nevertheless, identification tags were rendered useless for any dog or cat owner who had a “Houdini” on his hands when a pet wriggled out of a collar or managed to lose the tags in the course of everyday activities. This was the case for both dogs and cats.

As a consequence of this, efforts were made to identify alternative approaches to permanent pet identification that would be more reliable than using tin tags.

Pet tattoos, which are comparable to some of the methods used for branding livestock, emerged as a viable option, and they are unquestionably a permanent one. A string of numbers are typically placed in the region close to the animal’s right hind leg when it is tattooed. However, the concept of tattooing a pet can be unsettling to some people who have a deep love and respect for animals, and the system is not without errors, the majority of which are caused by humans. This identification is rendered useless if a lost pet that has a tattoo is found, but the tattoo is difficult to see because of fur matting in the area, or if a pet’s temperament does not easily allow a shelter worker to identify the tattoo. Both of these scenarios are possible.


Around that time, the idea of implanting microchips in animals made its debut, bringing with it the promise of significant advancements in the field of veterinary medicine. Automatic identification technology takes many forms, and microchips are one of them. These tiny wonders, which are about the size of a grain of rice, contain an identification code that is transmitted when a specialized radio frequency scanner is waved over the chip. These chips are about the size of a grain of rice. This hermetically sealed glass object is either surgically inserted into a pet’s neck or injected just under the skin at the base of the animal’s neck. The electronic circuitry of the microchip is only activated when the chip is being scanned, so the chip does not require batteries to function. An LCD readout of an identification number will be displayed on the scanner. This number will then be compared to a database in order to determine the owner of the animal and their contact information.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) program, which maintains worldwide databases to assist people in reuniting with their lost pets, more than 900,000 pets and companion animals have been registered in the program’s database. This program is just one of the many database programs that are currently available. There are probably thousands upon thousands of additional pets that have microchips implanted in them all over the country.


Microchips are a step in the right direction when it comes to the protection of animals; however, some groups and individuals believe that they may give pet owners a false sense of hope, primarily due to the ineffectiveness of microchips.

According to the American Pet Association, the inefficiency of microchips is primarily attributable to a lack of action on the part of veterinarians and workers at animal shelters, as well as the incompatibility of certain brands of microchips and scanners. According to the findings of the association, fewer than one percent of veterinarians check each new client’s pet for a microchip identification tag upon consultation. The majority of local humane societies do not perform pet intake screenings because they are not required to do so. In addition, it is possible for microchips to malfunction or move to other parts of a pet’s body, which would render scanning ineffective.

Some people believe that the disadvantages of using microchips as a form of identification for pets outweigh the advantages of using them. To begin, the chip is not detectable because it does not give off any signals, is not visible, and cannot be followed. This means that a pet owner is completely reliant on the ability of another person, such as a worker at a shelter, a veterinarian, or an animal care officer, to scan the animal in order to check for the presence of a chip. In addition, if an ordinary person who does not have access to a scanner finds an animal, the chip may never be found because they are unable to read it. Even though animals that have been microchipped are also given a rubber tag to use as a secondary form of identification, this tag frequently becomes unreadable within a few months after it has been attached.

There is also the possibility that certain manufacturers’ chips and the scanners that are used to read them might not be compatible with one another. Lisa Massey, who lives in Stafford, Virginia, was the owner of a microchipped dog named Hayden, who was later found in a local shelter, according to a case that was covered by CBS News. The animal shelter was unaware that the universal scanner it was utilizing would not be compatible with the particular brand of chip that had been implanted in the animal by the nearby veterinary hospital. Hayden was put to sleep as a result of the scanner’s inability to read the dog’s microchip, despite the fact that the dog had been microchipped.

Massey stated that he wanted other people to be aware of the situation. I believe that microchipping is a good idea; however, pet owners need to make sure that the correct chip is implanted in their animal.

Some people believe that microchipping is a lucrative business, and that most companies are only concerned with getting their chip on the market, regardless of whether the technology is regulated or whether it is made available for universal use. Once the pet owner pays for the chip, which typically costs between $30 and $50 (including implantation), the chip companies have no further responsibility.

Patricia Mercer, a spokesperson for the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is quoted as saying, “I think it is very irresponsible of profit-making corporations to put their focus on making a buck at the same time they are selling a false sense of security to people.” “I think it is very irresponsible of profit-making corporations to put their focus on making a buck at the same time they are selling a false sense of security to people


The use of microchips provides the benefit of having an additional method of identification in the event that a pet is misplaced. In addition to the use of chips, the following other precautions can be taken to safeguard an animal:

Make it a habit to check that the identification tags on the collar of your pet include your contact information, such as a phone number or an address.

To prevent animals from escaping, you need to be very careful about closing doors and securing yard fences.

In the event that you lose your pet, you should report it to the local animal shelter as soon as possible so that they can keep a record of it.

Always use a leash when walking a dog so that you don’t have to worry about him getting lost.

If your pet has been microchipped, you are responsible for informing the monitoring company of any changes to the pet’s contact information as well as notifying them of any moves to new addresses.

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