Pet microchipping: learn the facts and protect your pet with the latest identification technology

By Lidja Gillmeister, DVM

Locating a lost pet can be one of the most difficult and disheartening challenges facing pet owners, especially around this time of year. After the Fourth of July, Halloween is the most common day for pets to go missing; and without adequate identification or

pet microchipping

in place to boost the odds of a reunion, a lost pet’s chances of being reunited with his or her owner is slim. In the interest of protecting lost pets and preventing the nearly 9.6 million euthanasia procedures performed each year due to failed pet identification, the

American Animal Hospital Association

(AAHA) offers the following information about microchipping technology to dispel common misconceptions and encourage effective identification practices.

What is microchipping?

Microchipping is the process of implanting a tiny microchip – about the size of a grain of rice – just beneath your pet’s skin, in between the shoulderblades. Each microchip bears a unique identification number registered at a national database, as well as your contact information to aid in a speedy reunion. If your pet is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary hospital, the microchip can be read by inputting the number from the microchip into the database.

Will microchipping hurt my pet? What are the risks involved?

The procedure for implanting a microchip is safe, simple and minimally painful, much like a quick injection. And while there is always some risk involved when a foreign object is introduced into the body, these risks are minimal when it comes to microchipping – especially when compared to the risks faced by a lost pet. Microchips are made of a very safe, effective, long-lasting and biocompatible substance for optimal durability and minimal interference with your pet’s health.

How long does the microchip last?

One microchip will last for the duration of your pet’s life. It does not need to be replaced. However, it is necessary to keep your contact information up to date in order for the microchip to be effective. Contact the microchip database to alert authorities about any change of address.

With Halloween just around the corner, now is the perfect time to get a microchip for your pet. According to a 2009 study by Linda Lord, D.V.M., Ph.D., assistant professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine in Ohio State and service head for Community Practice, Outreach and Shelter Medicine, microchipped pets have a better chance of being returned to their owners after entering an animal shelter than those who are not. Specifically, study results indicate the return-to-owner rate for cats and dogs is 20 and 2.5 times higher respectively for microchipped pets than the return-to-owner rates for all stray cats and dogs in surveyed shelters. To learn more about microchipping or set up an appointment, contact us at

La Jolla Veterinary Hospital

today. Visit us online for details, at