The importance of microchipping or ID on your pet

This column was written by a staff member at the Headwaters Animal Shelter in Park Rapids.

a bone shaped dog identity tag showing a dog has been microchipp
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Microchips, or simply even having identification on your pet, can make a HUGE difference for us and the public.

The ability to identify a dog or cat as soon as it gets to the Headwaters Animal Shelter makes for a quick turnaround of the animal being here. This means less stress on your pet with the short stay.

Microchips are a lifesaver. This small tech item, which is the size of a piece of rice, gets inserted under the dog/cat’s skin between the shoulder blades.

Each animal that enters our facility is scanned for a microchip with a scanning device. If the animal is chipped, the number that is registered to that chip will show on the screen. We are able to type the chip into a database that tells us which company the chip is associated with and when it was last updated. Some even tell us the animal’s information, like their name, breed and how old they are.

Once we know what company, we call them and get owner information. This process takes approximately 20 minutes – that could be saving the animal days from having to stay in a stressful environment.


Microchips are not costly to put in and can potentially save you money and heartache in the future. They are well worth the cost and pay for themselves.

Having a form of other identification on your pet is another easy way for them to find their way home. There are a few ways of doing this, and can be as easy as writing a name and phone number on the inside of their collar.

The shelter sells dog and cat name tags for $5-$10. These have room for a name, phone number(s) and an address for the owner.

The use of name tags, even a rabies tag, can keep your pet from having to come to the shelter in the first place.

The only downfall to marking tags and collars is that they can come off, which is why your pet should be microchipped, just in case.

If you have any questions about microchips, we highly encourage you to speak with your local veterinarian.

If you would like a name tag engraved for your pet, call the shelter at 218-237-7100.

Holly Packman is the cat manager for the Headwaters Animal Shelter. She can be reached at

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