Originally posted as a Greene County Daily World column authored by Kegan Inman.

At the time of writing this, we have wrapped up our first full week of our free microchip clinic.

So far, we have “chipped” several animals.

Since announcing our free microchip clinic, there have been many questions. I thought this would be a perfect time to discuss microchipping.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a RFID chip enclosed inside a glass capsule about the size of a grain of rice.

Where does the microchip go?

A microchip is inserted under the skin, typically around the neck, using a hypodermic needle.

Can only dogs be microchipped?

Most animals can be chipped but the most common is dogs and cats.

Is microchipping safe?

It is very safe and typically causes no or minimal pain. The process typically takes less than 60 seconds and no anesthesia is needed.

Does a microchip track my pet?

No, a microchip has no tracking. There are GPS collars available, however.

Why should I get my pet microchipped?

Think of it like the little ID tag that goes on a collar but is instead permanently affixed to your animal.

How does the chip help to get my pet home?

Rescues, shelters, animal control, etc. scan animals for a microchip when entering their care. If a chip is found, the chip number is researched. If the microchip is registered, the finder will be able to follow that chip manufacturer’s process to get in contact with the owner.

Are there continuing fees?

There are chips that come with a lifetime registration and some that require an annual fee. Most rescues use chips that have a lifetime registration, but always ask that question when choosing to have your pet microchipped.

What if my information changes?

Update it. The chip is only as good as the information attached to it.

Does a microchip make it more likely to get my lost pet back?

While there are zero guarantees, if your animal does end up in a shelter or rescue, gets scanned and your information is correct, then you should get contacted.

Is this a foolproof system?

There is no such thing as a perfect system, and while chip or scanner malfunctions and human error can occur, this is rare. Traditionally the process works perfectly. The biggest failure is when chips are not registered or information is not accurate.

Do you recommend microchipping?

The answer is yes, yes and yes. When running loose, animals can travel several miles a day. Microchipping increases the likelihood of your animal being returned.

What should I do if I find a stray animal?

Make sure to have it scanned. Most rescues, shelters and vets can perform this service. If no chip is found, then post photos of the animal online and contact shelters and rescues to see if anyone is looking for the animal.

Why are you hosting a free microchip clinic?

We want to take a proactive approach to preventing stray and unwanted animals. We have identified microchipping as an area in which we can make a positive impact.

For more facts about microchipping, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website at


If you have any questions or feedback, you can reach me by email at kegan@greenecountyhumanesociety.org.

If you would like to support our efforts to help take a more proactive approach to animal welfare, you can visit our website www.GreeneCountyHumaneSociety.org to see ways to donate or volunteer.

In closing, I want to quote French poet Anatole France: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”