Microchipping dogs

Why Should You Microchip Your Dog?

Microchipping your dog is an inexpensive way to have your dog identified and returned to you if they ever run off. Think of this as a modern day dog collar, even if your dog doesn’t wear one. Animal shelters and vet clinics have scanners that they can use to check to see if your dog has a microchip, and after getting your contact info they’ll call you to let you know that they have found your dog.

If you want peace of mind knowing that your dog can easily be identified if they run off, this is something you should have done early in their life.

Because of how easy this is it is required by almost every country if you ever wanted to travel with your dog.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a small electronic device that is implanted inside the skin of your dog, usually in their back between their shoulders. It is the size of a large rice grain and contains a unique identification number (ID). This identification number contains information about the owner that is stored in a database. 

Just like the collar tags a microchip also helps to identify the owner of the dog but is more reliable. This is because the collar can physically get separated from a dog but since the microchip is planted inside the skin there is no way in which the microchip can get separated from the dog. It helps a shelter or vet trace the owner of a lost dog.

How to microchip your dog?

A microchip can be implanted on your dog by a vet or a shelter near you. The process is easy and only takes a few seconds. It is injected under the dog’s skin using a needle. 

There is no fixed location where the microchip needs to be implanted but it is generally inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. Because it is only a needle prick, the dog is not given anesthesia while the microchip is being inserted.

Microchipping dogs
Microchipping dogs

How safe is it to microchip a dog?

The process is absolutely safe and it will not cause any severe pain to the dog. Most dogs are very calm when the microchip is inserted. The only pain that they may feel is similar to when they get their blood tested. It is like poking a needle through the skin. 

Millions of dogs have been microchipped in the United States and there have been no reports of behavioral problems or health complications after the process. The only concern is that of the microchip moving to some other location. To check this you can ask the vet to scan the microchip when taking the dog for regular check-ups and see if it has moved. It is not a big problem as it rarely happens.

How does the microchip work?

Microchips are identification devices that do not have a power source of their own. The microchip gets activated when an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) scanner is used to scan the dog’s body. This will activate the microchip and display the identification number on the scanner. 

The person who has scanned the microchip will use the number to identify the company that has built the microchip. They will then contact the company to get information on the address and contact details of the owner. 

The microchip does not contain any other information apart from the unique identification number. This helps to keep the pet owner’s information private. For this reason it is also important to keep the information in the database current by informing the company of any change in your address or contact numbers. If you do not update the company they will not be able to contact you if someone finds your lost dog.

Benefits of Microchipping a Dog

Every year millions of dogs get lost in the United States. Many of them are not strays but are unable to reunite with their owners. This is because they do not have a microchip which makes it difficult for authorities to trace the owners. This is when microchip can be of great help –

Unique identification

A microchip gives a unique identification to your dog. The microchip is inserted inside the skin of the pet which makes it impossible for anyone to separate it from them. If your dog gets lost the microchip can help others to find information about the owner. Anyone who finds your dog can take them to a nearby shelter or vet and they will use a scanner to read the number on the microchip. This will allow them to contact the manufacturer of the microchip and get information about the owner. The owner can then visit the vet or shelter and get reunited with their lost pet.  

When moving abroad with your dog

If you are planning to move abroad with your dog there are several procedures that need to be followed. Microchipping your dog is one of them. Almost all countries make it mandatory to microchip the dog before it is imported to their land. This prevents any dispute from arising if the pet gets stolen or lost.

Microchipping dogs
Microchipping dogs

Does microchipping my dog guarantee that I will get them back if they are lost?

The microchip is not a GPS device. It does not have the feature to track the physical location of your dog if they get lost. The only way you will get back your pet is if someone finds them and takes them to a vet or a shelter home.

The vet or shelter owner will use an RFID scanner to read the identification number (ID) on your dog’s microchip. This will help them identify the manufacturer of the microchip and contact them to get the owner’s details. The company will look into their database and share the information associated with the number.

How much does a microchip cost?

The cost of microchips ranges between $15 to $20. If you go to a vet to get your dog microchipped it can cost you around $50. This could be lower if you are getting them microchipped during their regular check-ups with the vet. A shelter home near you could do it for even less.

Microchips do not have any maintenance costs associated with it and once inserted will last for the entire life of the pet. Most manufacturers will charge you an annual fee to keep your records in the database. You can find out about this while getting them microchipped.

Some shelter owners already have their dogs microchipped. This will let you save on the cost of getting them microchipped when you adopt the pet from the shelter. When you buy a dog from a breeder they may help you to get the dog microchipped as a part of their services.

Which microchip should I get?

There are several companies that manufacture microchips and for the most part they all do the same thing with few differences. Some microchips can be read by universal scanners while others would require specific scanners. The best thing is to use a microchip that is most commonly used in your area. The shelters and vets in your area will have the scanner to read these microchips allowing them to easily scan the number on the microchip.

Are there any side effects after microchipping a dog?

Any possible side effects are very rare. When considering the millions of dogs that have had a microchip implanted into them over the years it is incredibly unlikely that your dog will experience anything. However, some dogs may have a small amount of hair loss at the injection site. This is usually from scar tissue, but again unless you are looking for it, it is quite unlikely you will see it even if it happens.

Are microchips safe for dogs?

Yes, millions of dogs are implanted with microchips each year and the vast majority don’t even have the smallest side effects. When you consider the benefits of having your dog returned to you the cost should outweigh the inconvenience of an implanted chip.

Is microchipping painful for dogs?

It will feel the same as if they received a vaccination or had their blood drawn. It is very minor, and they’ll forget about it seconds after it has finished.

How long does a microchip last in a dog?

Microchips are designed to outlast the life of your dog. They are designed to work for 25 years.

Microchipping dogs
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