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Microchip Basics
May 12, 2022

Microchips are very small: they are only about the size of a grain of rice. However, these tiny devices may be one of the most important tools in your pet care arsenal. If your furry bff hasn’t been chipped yet, we recommend making that appointment as soon as you can. A local Bellaire, TX vet goes over some information on microchips below.

The Procedure

Getting Fido and Fluffy microchipped is a very quick and simple procedure. A hypodermic needle is used to insert the chip between your pet’s shoulder blades, just under the skin. This only takes a minute, and is comparable to getting a shot. Many people opt to do this along with spay/neuter surgery. However, it can also be scheduled separately, or worked into your furry pal’s regular appointment. Spaying or neutering your pet is crucial for controlling the pet population; learn more about our initiatives during ‘Prevent A Litter Month.’

How They Work

Microchips don’t upload information, nor will they track your pet’s location. Each chip only contains a single piece of information: a unique ID number. That number is transmitted via radio waves, using something called radio frequency identification (or RFID) technology. That information can be picked up with special scanners, which are used by veterinarians and the staff at animal shelters.


Getting your furry best friend microchipped is only part of the process. You’ll also need to fill out your information in the chipmaker’s account. The chip will be useless if your data isn’t up to date! Be sure to update this information whenever you move or change numbers. (Tip: try using the Pet Microchip Lookout tool here to check your records.)


If your four-legged buddy has been chipped, take a look at your records or have your vet scan them. If the number starts with 900, you may need to register it. These numbers were manufactured overseas or by companies that can no longer be reached.


Although microchips don’t need any maintenance, we do recommend having them checked regularly, as they can slip or malfunction. This is something you can have your vet do at your furry pal’s regular appointments.


Microchips do not contain GPS trackers. However, you can now get your pet collars or tags that are enabled with GPS. These can be great tools! Just do some research before buying. Some of these products require subscriptions, while others may run off your wi-fi.

Our Advice on Microchip Basics in 2024

What are microchips for pets?

Microchips for pets are small devices, about the size of a grain of rice, implanted under a pet’s skin, typically between the shoulder blades. They contain a unique ID number, which, when scanned by a special reader, helps identify the pet and access owner contact information from a registered database. Microchips are crucial for pet identification and recovery if they get lost, as they provide a permanent form of identification, unlike collars or tags that can fall off or become damaged. It’s a simple, quick procedure that significantly increases the chances of a lost pet being reunited with its owner.

How is the microchipping procedure done?

The microchipping procedure involves inserting a microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, under a pet’s skin using a hypodermic needle. This is typically done between the shoulder blades. The process is quick, taking only a minute, and is comparable to receiving a vaccination shot in terms of discomfort. It can be performed during a routine veterinary appointment or alongside other procedures, such as spay/neuter surgery. No anesthesia is required for the insertion, making it a straightforward and low-risk procedure for pet identification. Maintaining your pet’s health includes regular wellness checks and vaccinations; discover more about our Veterinary Wellness & Pet Vaccinations services.

What are the limitations of microchips?

Microchips are invaluable for pet identification, but they have limitations. Firstly, they do not have GPS capability, meaning they cannot track a pet’s real-time location. The chip solely contains a unique ID number, which must be scanned with a special reader to retrieve the owner’s contact information from a database. Therefore, it’s crucial that pet owners keep their contact information updated in the chip’s registry. Additionally, microchips can sometimes migrate from the original implantation site, which may make scanning more challenging. Regular veterinary checks can ensure the microchip remains functional and properly positioned.

Are there any risks or side effects associated with microchipping?

Microchipping is a safe and widely practiced procedure with minimal risks. The most common side effect is temporary discomfort at the injection site, similar to receiving any routine shot. In rare cases, pets may experience minor swelling, infection, or chip migration within the body. However, these issues are infrequent and typically not serious. The benefits of being able to reunite lost pets with their owners far outweigh these minor risks. It’s advisable to monitor the implantation site after the procedure and consult a veterinarian if any concerns arise.

What should you do if you find a lost pet that is microchipped?

If you find a lost pet that is microchipped, take the animal to a local veterinarian or animal shelter where they have the capability to scan the microchip. The scan will reveal the pet’s unique identification number, which can be used to look up the owner’s contact information in the microchip registry database. It’s essential to act promptly to increase the chances of a speedy reunion between the lost pet and its owner. Remember, the microchip is a tool to bridge the gap between lost pets and their families.

Do you need to schedule microchipping? Contact us, your local Bellaire, TX animal clinic, today!