Why and How to Get Your Pet Microchipped
When you get a new pet or adopt one, your vet may promptly ask, "Would you like to microchip your newest best friend?"
The answer we hope you'll respond with: "Yes!"
Here's why you should microchip your pet and how it works.
Benefits of Microchipping Your Pet
Reason 1: Your pet could run away.
Sometimes, all it takes is a little imagination. Imagine how you'd feel if your pet got lost or ran away. How might you feel if little Tinker Bell ran away and you had no way to locate her? Microchips can reunite lost and runaway pets with their families.
Reason 2: Your pet could become lost or stolen.
This reason might not just involve a sinister kidnapper with a net like you might initially imagine. For example, what if a natural disaster occurs in your area and you get separated from your pet? In situations that involve floods, hurricanes or tornadoes, you might not be able to readily find your pet and must evacuate. Microchipping offers permanent identification if someone else finds your best friend.
Reason 3: Your pet might need recurring medication.
Do you have a medically fragile pet on your hands? As a pet parent, you want to make sure your pet gets medication right away when he or she needs it. Microchipping offers the fastest way to make sure your pet gets his or her medication.
For example, let's say your diabetic older dog gets away from you on a walk. Someone else finds her and takes her to a local vet clinic. The vet clinic scans your pets microchip and contacts you. You come to the vet's office, insulin syringe at the ready. (Or the vet gives your pet a shot of insulin while you're en route to collect her.)
You can avoid a life-or-death situation with a tiny chip the size of a grain of rice.
How to Microchip Your Pet
In most cases, microchipping offers a completely harmless solution to keeping track of your pet. Here's how to get it done.
Step 1: Talk to your veterinarian, of course!
Most veterinary clinics keep microchips handy, so chances are, if you're in for a regular appointment, you can have your pet implanted with a microchip that same day. Just let your veterinarian know you want to microchip prior to your next appointment — or prior to your first appointment with your new kitten or puppy. You might also check with the local animal shelter to find out if they host microchipping events as well.
Step 2: Watch as your veterinarian implants the chip.
Your veterinarian will use a simple injection to implant the microchip. It takes just seconds to implant the chip — the same amount of time it takes to give any other injection.
It might look easy, but you never want to do it yourself. If you use too much force or put the needle in the wrong spot, the microchip might not read correctly in the future. It may also cause health problems if implanted in the wrong spot. Veterinarians know exactly where the microchips should go and can recognize problems and treat your pet accordingly.
Step 3: Pay for microchipping with SPOT.
Microchipping costs around $50. If you have it done while you take care of other things (like a regular checkup) it might cost a little less because it's rolled into a regular office visit.
SPOT covers microchipping in all plans, Accident-Only or Accident & Illness.
Step 4: Submit microchip registration.
Submit registration and keep it current. If you don't, the microchip won't work at all. Many pets get microchipped but far fewer get registered correctly. You must fill out the paperwork and make sure you register your phone number with the microchip company. If you move or you change your phone numbers, you must update that information.
Step 5: Get your pet back if lost.
Let's say it happens — you turn your back on Hank the cat one day and he scurries away. Someone will have to scoop him up and take him to a shelter or veterinarian’s office to scan for a microchip. Contrary to popular belief, microchips do not serve as a tracker or a GPS device. It only works if someone scans the microchip.
Next, the person who finds your cat can contact that company that made the chip and find you.
You Should Microchip Your Pet
If nothing other than to prevent yourself from experiencing the heartache of a lost or stolen pet, microchip your fur friend. It takes just seconds; your veterinarian can do it safely and you'll feel so much better.
Microchipping can help you plan for the unexpected, and that’s why SPOT is here: to help you cover unexpected pet health care involving accidents or illness. If your pet gets sick or injured, SPOT Pet Insurance offers an unlimited annual limit option, no per incident caps and no lifetime caps. And every SPOT Pet Insurance policy covers microchipping, so what are you waiting for?
Melissa Brock, pet parent of a black fur-shedding feline, is the founder of College Money Tips and Money editor at Benzinga. She loves helping families navigate their finances.