Microchipping a 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 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’s required by almost every country if you ever wanted to travel internationally 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.The microchip is an electronic device about the size of a large rice grain that acts as an identification tool for your dog. The microchip contains a unique identification (ID) number. This identification number contains information about the owner that’s stored in a database and can help reunite the lost pet with its owner.

Just like the collar tags a microchip also helps identify the owner of the dog but is more reliable. They’re more reliable because the collar can physically get separated from a dog. Because the microchip is implanted inside their skin there is no way that the microchip can get separated from your dog. It helps a shelter or vet trace the owner of a dog they find.

How to Microchip Your Dog?

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

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

How Safe is it to Microchip Your Dog?

The process is absolutely safe and it will not cause any pain to your 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’s just poking a needle through their 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 your vet to scan the microchip when taking your dog for regular check-ups and see if it has moved. It’s not a big problem because it rarely happens.

How Does the Microchip Work?

The microchip doesn’t have a power source of its own and is only activated when an RFID scanner is used within 6 – 8” of the microchip. The embedded microchip then displays the identification number on the scanner.  The vet or animal shelter can then use the identification number to find out information about the owner of the dog. They can get this information by contacting the manufacturer of the microchip that can give them the information about the dog’s owner by looking in the database.

The microchip does not contain any other information apart from the unique identification number. This helps keep your information private. Because the database is only as good as what you give them, it’s important to keep your information in the database current. Inform them about any change to your address or contact numbers. If you don’t update them they won’t be able to contact you if someone finds your lost dog.

Another important thing to know about the microchips is that they are not a GPS device. What this means is that you cannot track the location of the dog in real-time. 

Does Microchipping My Dog Guarantee that I will get Them Back if They are Lost?

The microchip is not a GPS device. It doesn’t have the ability to track the physical location of your dog if they get lost. The only way you’ll get your pet back is if someone finds them and takes them to a vet or a shelter.

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 don’t have a microchip which makes it difficult for authorities to track down the owners. This is why a microchip can be a great help:

Unique Identification

A microchip gives a unique identification number to your dog. The microchip is inserted inside the skin of your pet which makes it impossible for anyone to remove it from them. If your dog gets lost the microchip can help others find your contact information. 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 come to the vet or shelter and be reunited with their lost pet.  

When Moving Abroad with Your Dog

If you are planning to move abroad with your dog there are several things that need to be done before you move. Microchipping your dog is one of them. Almost all countries make it mandatory to microchip your dog before it is imported. This helps the authorities identify the owners of the dogs and avoid any disputes if your cat is lost or stolen.

How Much Does a Microchip Cost?

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

Microchips do not have any maintenance costs associated with them 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 get your 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 microchip.

Are There Any Side Effects After Microchipping My Dog?

Any possible side effects are very rare. 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’s been injected.

How Long Does a Microchip Last?

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