Photo courtesy The Rancho Coastal Humane Society.

The San Diego Humane Society will offer free microchipping of pets brought into its four shelter locations with an appointment during October, officials announced Tuesday.

The “Chip n’ Treat” campaign comes just before the holiday season, which, while fun for humans, can be stressful and scary for pets, who are more likely to run away.

A microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, is injected beneath the surface of the pet’s skin between the shoulder blades to provide a permanent form of identification should they get lost amidst crowds of trick-or-treaters. The process is similar to a routine shot, taking only a few seconds and requiring no anesthetic.

According to SDHS, one of every three pets will become lost during their lifetime, and only one in 10 will be reclaimed by their owners.

“In addition to having your pets wear a collar with a tag displaying your contact information, a microchip provides permanent, secure protection,” a statement from SDHS reads. “If your pet is found, they can be taken to a veterinarian or shelter — and sometimes even a local fire station or library — where they can be easily scanned and you will be contacted.”

To sign up for free chipping and registration, visit Appointments are recommended. The shelters will charge a $15 fee for walk-ins.

The Chip n’ Treat promotion runs through Oct. 31, Tuesday through Sunday at the Escondido, Oceanside, and San Diego locations and Tuesday through Friday at the El Cajon location from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 5 p.m.

–City News Service