Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice. They consist of a miniaturized coil and a memory circuit encased in biocompatible glass, and are small enough to fit in a hypodermic syringe. Your veterinarian or other technician implants the microchip just under the skin between the shoulder blades, and the whole procedure takes only a minute or so. The chip's memory circuit contains a unique number registered to your cat or dog, which can be read by special scanners found in some veterinary offices and shelters.
Pros of Microchips --
It is a form of permanent identification, and cannot fall off or be removed as can a collar.
It can be used to settle disputes of ownership.
The scanner is clear to read, unlike tattoos which can be hard to read on some pets.
Shelters and veterinarians that do have scanners will scan found pets for free.
Cons of Microchips --
A Microchip cannot be seen, as such people may assume a pet is unwanted and keep it, never realizing it has identification.
There are many types of chips and not all scanners read every type of chip. Therefor a pet with a chip might be scanned and nothing detected.
Very rarely the chip moves and might be harder to find.
If the pets owner does not keep their correct contact information up to date, it make be impossible to trace them if they have moved.
It is not a GPS system, as some people assume, the microchip does not indicate where a lost pet is, only who it is when it is found and scanned.
Sometimes owners of microchipped pets get lazy, assuming the chip will bring the pet back to them in its own time. They become complacent to the fact that errors can occur and chips can be missed. As such they may not make trips to the shelters to look for their missing pet, or be active in the recovery of their pet in other ways.
The general, non-pet-owning, public is still unaware of this technology, so may not take a pet they found to a veterinarian for scanning to check for a chip.
Alternatives to Microchips --
Collars with tags are great and highly visible, the problem is that they do fall off or can be removed.
Tattoos may be used, and are often in a pets ear, stomach, or inner hind leg. They are more visible than a microchip, but less visible than tags, however tattoos are permanent.
For the record, I have six cats, none of whom have microchips, four are tattooed, and one is good enough to keep her collar on. I live in the country and all are spayed or neutered.
This is actually another one of those controversial subjects in the world of animals. Part of the problem is that there isn’t a standard universal microchip scanner because they are all proprietary. That means that each company who makes them can each only read certain microchips. There is a plan afoot to not only push for a mandatory universal scanner but to mandate by law all domesticated animals -meaning ALL not just dogs -be microchipped. Many are singing the praises of this movement, but I for one am not one of them.
Why should the government mandate any more laws that take away my rights as a pet owner and caregiver? If we decide to bring a pet home then it is our responsibility NOT the government’s to tell me how to care for it. I know there are so many people that don’t do the right thing who are horrible pet owners but again, that is the price we pay for a truly free society. There will always be rotten apples in any society whether it is a free one or not. I do not want nor need more government interference in my life. I see this mandatory micro chipping as a total invasion of my privacy and an erosion of my rights as a citizen of the USA. o_O