Microchips in Pets: Everything You Need to Know

Almost all pet owners are familiar with the microchip, but there are still some misconceptions about how they work. To get the most use out of the microchip, it’s important for pet owners to understand how the microchip works, and what is needed from them to make sure the microchip of their pet can be used as intended. So let’s have a closer look about what there is to know about the microchip.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a very small device, about the size of a rice grain, which gets implanted under the skin of your pet. Implantation is done through needle injection. The little device is a radio-frequency identification transponder which doesn’t use a battery or power. The microchip can be scanned out with a special device called a microchip reader. When the scanner goes over the chip, it transmits a number to the scanner, which will then show up on the screen of the scanner. There is no information shown besides the identification number of the chip. A misconception that some people have is that you can track the location of your pet with the microchip, this is not the case. Also, no pet or owner details will show up on the scanner.

Microchips in Pets

Database and registration.

The microchip number that is connected to the specific microchip can be registered in different databases. Most countries use a central database for pet recovery, and if the microchip is placed by a vet, they usually will register the number also in their system. There are also databases pet owners can manually register their pets on, which are often ran by individuals and/or organizations. These microchip databases will connect the microchip number with basic information about the pet (name/gender/date of birth) and the contact details of the owner. The most important part that is often forgotten by pet owners, is that they need to keep the contact information up-to-date in these databases. If incorrect or old details are connected to the microchip number, it will be impossible to contact an owner in case their pet is found. 

For Dubai, you need to register your pet at Dubai Municipality. To be able to register your pet, their rabies vaccination needs to be up-to-date and they need to have a microchip. By law, the Rabies vaccine needs to be given yearly. This is also a requirement to be able to receive their ID tag. It’s advised to also register your pet at your chosen veterinary clinic. For the other Emirates, it’s only required to register your pet at a veterinary clinic as there is no central database. There are privately owned and maintained microchip databases in the UAE available. Registration on these aren’t mandatory by law, but one can choose to register there for extra safety. An example of such a database is www.microchipped.ae, and registration on this database is for free. Additionally, it’s advised to get a tag for your pet engraved with your contact details. 

Placement of the microchip

Almost all pets can be micro-chipped. It’s not uncommon for rabbits, birds, or even reptiles, to get chipped. For dogs and cats, the microchip gets placed between the shoulder blades, but in some cases, it does wander through the body after placement. In very rare cases, a microchip comes out by itself after placement. Most vets will check if the microchip is still there at check-ups, but if not, you can always ask for them to check. Scanning will only take a minute. For pet professionals it’s important to make sure they scan the whole animal if searching for a microchip. There have been cases where microchips have wandered into legs, or other unexpected parts of the body. Because the chips are only skin-deep, you don’t have to worry about them migrating and affecting vital organs.

Should I microchip my pet?

Yes! A lot of countries have laws about micro-chipping your pet, but even if not, research has shown that pets that have a microchip are way more likely to be reunited when lost than those without a microchip. For cats with a microchip the chances of being reunited are 20 times higher than those without one, and for dogs this is 2.5 times higher. The procedure is simple and not expensive. 

Fun fact

There are different types of microchip responders. For microchips that meet ISO 11784/5 standards, the first three numbers of the identification number stored in the microchip will be either a manufacturer’s code or a country code. This will not tell you where your pet currently is, but does tell you in most cases something about where they were micro-chipped.  

Microchips reader

The microchip

A useful tool used to reunite pet owners and their lost pets. Micro-chipping your pet will increase the chance of being reunited in case they get lost. Through this article, we hope to have answered any questions one may have about the microchip while emphasizing the importance of micro-chipping your pet and keeping the details connected to the microchip up-to-date. If you would like to know more about our pet sitting or dog walking feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help.

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