What is a microchip?

A microchip, also known as a radio frequency identification device (RFID), is the most effective form of permanent identification for pets. Microchips are approximately the size of a grain of rice (see below photo) and are safe to use for pet identification purposes. Pet microchipping is an extremely common and safe procedure, where a microchip is implanted in the soft scruff of the neck.

Microchips rely on RFID technology to transmit stored information through radio waves. Microchips are made up of three main components: a silicon chip, an iron core and a capacitor. The chip contains an identification number and relays this information back to a microchip scanner. The iron core is wrapped in copper wire that acts as an antenna to receive signals from a microchip scanner. The capacitor’s function is to act as a tuner with the antenna coil. The three sections of the microchip are encased in biocompatible glass. The microchip is not active until it passes under a microchip reader.

Photo of a pet microchip next to a paperclip
A pet microchip – actual size