Sunday, January 27, 2013

Did You Know TAGS Microchips?

One of the least known aspects of the TAGS organization is its microchip clinics.

In an effort to provide the community affordable care for their pets, TAGS offers microchipping of cats and dogs for the very affordable price of $30.

But what is a microchip?
A microchip is the size of a grain of rice that, when scanned, relays a number that correlates with the pet owner's information in a database.

Perhaps the most interesting fact about the microchip is that the chip itself does not actually emanate any type of signal unless it is triggered by a scanner. The technology is called RFID, or radio frequency identification. For more information about this technology, check out its Wikipedia page.

Here is a photo of a disassembled microchip package.  The black item on the right is the actual chip.  The item on the left is the needle, which is attached to a plunger, which pushes the chip through the needle under the skin. Normally you cannot see the chip because it comes loaded with the needle, but this package for some reason came disassembled.

How is microchipping done?

Microchipping is a painless procedure through which the chip is inserted under the skin. We apply rubbing alcohol to the back of the dog’s neck and rub it into the skin to help desensitize and sanitize the area. Then, similar to a flu shot, a needle is inserted, and a plunger pushes the chip through the needle under the skin. Sometimes you will see blood at the site of the puncture. Blood is made more visible by the use of the rubbing alcohol. Letting the puncture site scab over is the easiest way for the skin to recover.

Since the chip is inserted under the skin, it is impossible for the identification marker to be lost, unlike collar tags. And a chip lasts the lifetime of your pet, although it is recommended that on your next trip into the veterinary office, you have the chip scanned to ensure that it is working properly.
Here is a photo of a needle out of its package, attached to a plunger gun. The quarter in the photo gives you an idea of the size of the items. The needle screws on to the applicator and is used only once for sanitary reasons. The applicator guns can be reused as many times as you'd like.

Why get microchipping done through TAGS?

While veterinarians can microchip your pet, their cost to do so is substantially higher than what the TAGS clinic charges, which is just $30. We are able to offer this service for a low fee because our organization is 100% volunteer, and we schedule our clinics in locations that invite us in just for the day.

Microchipping is the best way to ensure your pet is recovered quickly if lost. I highly recommend that not just dogs but also housecats be chipped since catching a cat who has made a break for the door is what inspired one of my favourite phrases: This is harder than herding cats!

TAGS runs microchip clinics almost every month. Check our website or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to see when our next clinic is. 


  1. Excellent advice and a great service. Nice to know you can go somewhere reasonable to get your pet chipped. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It can definitely be a lifesaver. We have had people call while we are still at the clinic, literally within 2 hours of inserting the chip asking if we've lost a dog? We had to rifle through the forms to find the corresponding owner, and the dog was returned before we even finished the clinic (usually from 10am - 1pm). Crazy!

  2. what recovery company are the chips registered with?

  3. Which recovery organization are the chips registered with, and is registration an additional cost?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. We use 24hour pet watch, I believe it is one of the most popular. At the clinic we have a form which must be filled out with your information. When we buy the chips, they are all registered to TAGS, and then one of our volunteers transfers the chip from TAGS to the person on the form. You can then go onto and edit the information if you change addresses, would like to add emergency contact info, or even just to upload photos to get your pet home as soon as possible! There is no additional cost.

  4. The size of Microchips for Cats is just similar to the size of rice. Therefore, microchips are easy to implant under pet's skin with safe and sound. In this way, you can overcome the hurdle of missing pet via microchip needle and microchip readers.


Feel free to leave a comment on any of the topics listed on this blog.

Blogging tips