Microchip FAQ

by Dr. Lauren Ritchey, Veterinarian, Humane Society of Harrisburg Area


What is a microchip?

A microchip is a small device (about the size of a grain of rice) that works as a transponder and is activated when a scanner is waved over the animal.  The microchip is inserted by a medical professional under the pet’s skin using a sterile needle.  Each microchip is associated with a unique number that will appear on a scanner screen as it is hovered over the animal.  A lost animal can be brought to any animal hospital or shelter to be scanned for a microchip.  Unfortunately, most microchips do not act as GPS tracking devices.  Microchips are registered with the pet owner’s name and contact information.  The finder of a lost animal with a microchip can call the microchip company and get in contact with the owner very quickly.  


Should my pet be microchipped?

Absolutely! Microchips are very safe and could save your pet’s life.  Sometimes even the most responsible pet owners can have accidents resulting in their beloved pets getting loose and lost.  Often collars and identification tags can slip off of pets.  A microchip will always be there and acts as a nice insurance policy should your pet ever get lost.  Microchips are responsible for the majority of reunions between lost pets and their owners.  


How can I get my pet microchipped?

The Humane Society of Harrisburg Area offers microchip implantation through both our Veterinary Resource Center and Spay/Neuter Clinic. The microchip and implantation costs $25 and can be performed during a routine wellness examination OR at the time of spay/neuter services. Information on how to register your microchip will be provided at the time of service. It is very important to keep your contact information registered and up to date with the microchip company.

Image credit: VCA Hospitals

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