Pet ID Tags Or Microchip? Which Is Better?

Whether you have a new pup in the house or your pet has been a part of your family for years, you know it's important to provide them with identification in case they get lost. But what if your veterinarian is recommending a microchip and you're leaning towards a simple ID tag? You may wonder which is better, safer, or the least expensive. Here are your questions answered so you know which one is better for your pet.

All About Microchips

What is a microchip?

Microchips are small transponders encased in bioglass about the size of a grain of rice. Every microchip comes with a unique identification number that should be registered to the pet and owner.

Does a microchip work like a GPS?

GPS devices are tracking devices that require a power source. Microchips don't require any power to work. So, microchips and GPS systems are not even on the same wavelength.

When your pet is lost, there aren't any magical devices that will indicate their location. But if a good Samaritan happens to take your dog to an animal hospital or shelter, the staff can use a microchip scanner to see if your pet is chipped. When the scanner passes over the area where the chip is implanted, the microchip emits a radio frequency that communicates the ID number to the scanner. The staff can then look up the number in a database, find your information, and call you to let you know your pet has been found.

How is a microchip implanted?

A syringe-like device that comes with the microchip is used to insert the chip underneath the skin over the shoulder blades. A lot of pet owners want to know how big the needle is, and it's just big enough to accommodate the chip. Most animals don't respond any differently to a microchip being implanted than they do to getting a vaccine. And they don't need to be sedated or numbed to have it implanted.

Aren't there risks associated with microchips?

Anytime a foreign object is inserted under the skin, there will be risks. While not extremely common, it is possible that your pet could reject the chip, the site could become infected, or the body could respond by forming a tumor around the chip or at the injection site.

Do you have to microchip your pet?

Microchips are not required by law like Rabies vaccines are in most states. But there is one situation in which you may be required to microchip your pet. If you plan to travel, many countries, like Italy, require dogs, cats, and ferrets to be microchipped with an ISO compliant chip (unless they have an acceptable tattoo, which most pets do not). ISO compliant means it can be identified with a universal scanner. If your pet does not have an ISO compliant chip, you will need to bring your own scanner along.

All about Pet ID Tags

What are pet ID tags?

Pet ID tags are external identification devices that attach to the pet's collar. They are custom engraved to indicate the pet's name and the owner's phone number. They're made up of plastic or metal and come in a variety of styles to reflect the personality of the pet or the owner.

What are the advantages of ID tags over a microchip?

Pet ID tags are much cheaper than a microchip. They're non-invasive, and they're just plain fun to look at. You don't have to worry about any negative side effects whatsoever.

Also, your pet's microchip could migrate to other parts of the body. And lastly, the animal hospital caring for your lost pet may not have a universal scanner that can read your pet's chip.

What's better? Microchip or pet ID tags?

Most veterinarians typically recommend a combination of both. Microchips are better suited for the pet that's likely to be separated from their owner. But since there's a risk of the chip migrating or not being readable, a pet ID tag is the perfect solution that works on every animal.

If you don't wish to microchip your pet at all, make sure they wear their pet ID tag at all times.