Fiction 1: Microchips are difficult to implant and can harm my pet.

Fact: Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are safely implanted like a vaccine is administered, by a needle in a fold of skin. For most pets, the discomfort is also like that of receiving a vaccine: mild and short-term. Since microchips never have to be replaced, it’s a quick, one-time shot. Plus, microchips are made of a biocompatible material that doesn’t cause allergic reactions. In the past, microchips ran the risk of migrating to another part of your pet’s body—but that’s no longer the case because of anti-migration technology added to the chips.

Fiction 2: Indoor cats don’t need microchips

Fact: Yes, they do! Even if you’re diligent about keeping your cat safely tucked inside, repairmen or visiting guests may not be as careful. Many indoor cats don’t wear collars with identification tags either. If your indoor pet slips out, having that microchip could bring her back home.

Fiction 3: Microchips are very expensive.

Fact: The average cost of a vet-implanted chip is $45, which includes registering your pet in the service’s database. However, if that cost seems prohibitive, keep an eye on your local shelter; many offer low-cost microchip services periodically.

Fiction 4: Microchips provide your pet with GPS-style tracking.

Fact: The microchip must be scanned in order for it to work. Microchips aren’t GPS technology; they’re Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. That means it doesn’t require a battery because it only works when it’s scanned—and draws the power needed to provide the scanner with the number from the scanner. Almost all shelters and vets offices in the U.S. have a microchip scanner on hand, and most are universal scanners, which means they can read numbers from just about any brand of chip.

Fiction 5: My pet’s collar tags will be enough to get him safely home.

Fact: A collar with up-to-date ID tags is important, of course. But, collars fall off and tags become indecipherable over time. While an ID tag is a critical first line of defense when your pet is lost, a microchip can’t get lost, fall off, or become unreadable.

The bottom line: A microchip’s benefits outweigh the drawbacks, many of which are unsubstantiated worries. Get your pet chipped, and keep the information updated. It’s the most reliable way to keep identifying information with your pet at all times, which significantly increases the chances that your furball will be reunited with you.

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