Legolas got microchipped today. He was not shy about telling me that I was an abusive owner for putting him in a carrier and how DARE I let the vet poke him with an awful needle. And he reminded me that I owe him extra dinner for putting up with this torture.
What Legolas doesn’t realize is that a microchip could save his life.
There are some arguments as to whether or not there are major health risks to microchipping but the general consensus is that risk is low and the payoff is high. For more detail on how exactly microchipping works, HomeAgain is a great resource, but in a nut shell it is a small chip the size of a grain of rice that has a unique number which can be scanned and matched to your contact information if your pet is lost.
All of our dogs are microchipped, though luckily we have not ever needed it yet. Legolas was the last pet in our family without one, and given his great interest in trying to get outside (“watch the door!!!” is a commonly shouted phrase in our house…), he needs the extra protection in case he gets lost.
The actual microchipping process itself took about 10 seconds and was all in all a non-event. Now he has a permanent form of ID that will last even if his collar and tags fall off when he gets outside.
Our shelter frequently returns animals to their owners because of a microchip. A few times, we have had amazing stories result from a microchip – the family who found their dog two years later when it was scanned in our shelter, or the man whose dog somehow traveled 600 miles from home and was found with a chip several states away. If your pet makes it into an animal shelter, the best chance of them finding their way back home, and surviving the experience, is if they have a microchip. I’ve heard horror stories of animals that are put down in a shelter for being aggressive, or just for space and the owner finding out after the fact that their dog had been in the shelter. None of it would have happened if the animal was chipped.
So there’s my public service announcment/lecture for the day. It’s very cost effective, and if the price your vet is quoting you seems too much, look up your local shelter or humane society as most of them offer low cost microchipping clinics at various times throughout the year. Hopefully you will never need it, but it’s just a little extra insurance in case your pet does get lost, as well as proof of ownership.