Microchips: Don’t Forget About this Pet Travel Necessity

Though not required, investing in a microchip for pet travel is an excellent way to ensure your animal’s safety while in transit. This technology offers a standardized way to identify pets when they cross boarders or go through customs. In fact, most international pet travel requires microchip identification. This technology also provides an invaluable resource if your pet ever gets lost—whether they’re lost in transit or escape through your front door.

Never a bad idea, if you do enough traveling, especially internationally, a microchip is the best way to ensure you can always find your animal. Here’s what you need to know about these tiny devices.


What is a microchip?

A microchip is a simple tracking device. It has a capacitor, antenna, a connecting wire, and a covering.


How big are microchips for pet travel?

The device itself is around the size of a grain of rice.


Where is it inserted?

Subcutaneous microchips are inserted just below the skin and between the shoulder blades.


How is it activated?

Battery-free and sealed in biocompatible glass or polymer, microchips are activated by a low-power radiofrequency signal emitted by scanners.


Does it hurt?

Most pets barely notice the implantation; if feels like a routine vaccination.


Does implantation require surgery?

No; the cylindrical devices are implanted using a standard hypodermic needle.


How does the tracking feature work?

Activated microchip identification numbers are stored in a pet recovery database. If your lost pet is found by a stranger, they can bring him to the nearest veterinarian for identification.


How much does it cost?

Standard microchips cost around $45. If you adopted an animal from a shelter or breeder, it will likely already have an implanted device.


How do I activate a microchip for pet travel?

If your pet already has a microchip, bring him to your local veterinarian. The professional will activate the device using a radiofrequency signal and record the identification number in a pet recovery database. If your pet does not already have a device, your veterinarian will activate it during the same appointment as the implantation.


How do I know if my pet has a microchip?

If you’re unsure, a quick trip to the animal hospital will clear up any confusion. If possible, record your pet’s microchip number for quick reference in case of emergency.


Is a Microchip Worth the Effort?

Yes, absolutely. A microchip is a low-cost, one-time procedure and does not require any maintenance. This technology provides permanent identification for your cat or dog; it can never be removed or become impossible to read. Many pet owners and veterinary professionals liken microchips to unremovable collar I.D. tags. This is why they are used frequently in international travel. A microchip recognizes an animal better than any pet passport or veterinary certificate, and it is a reliable, failsafe way to ensure identity.

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