Microchipping your dog can significantly increase the chances of you finding your dog if they get lost. Today, our Hermitage vets share some information about the benefits of microchipping and how they work.
There was a time when the only option for identifying a dog was a license tag. Although this is still an effective way to tell which family a dog belongs to, tags and collars can fall off (or be removed), making it difficult to find lost or missing dogs.
For many years, medical tattoos applied by veterinarians were the solution of choice, but this required the owners to register the tattoo with a national database, different vets tattooed different symbols, and dogs with dark skin pigments hardly showed the marks. Enter the microchip!
What Is A Microchip?
Microchips are tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips. They are approximately the size of a grain of rice. In dogs, they are usually placed under the skin on the back, between the shoulder blades.
The implant process is minimally invasive; the chip is implanted with a needle, and no surgery is required. The process also involves little discomfort, and most dogs do just fine with receiving it, reacting with little to no discomfort at all.
You will register the chip number with the company that produces the chip so that there will be a way to trace your dog to your household.
How Microchips Work
Microchips are read using a special scanner, which most veterinarians and shelters have. In the past, different brands of chips required different scanners, but modern universal scanners can read all modern types of chips, regardless of their brand.
When the scanner is passed over the dog's back and sides the microchip will transmit its identification number to the scanner.
The rescuer will then contact the national database, which in turn will contact the owner of the dog (that's you!) and take the next steps to reunification with your pooch.
Microchips are not only valuable for returning lost dogs but are also very helpful when it comes to proving ownership.
Dog Collars & Tags
Collars and tags are also helpful in returning lost dogs to their owners. Anyone can read a tag, and call the phone number listed on it to contact the owner. For this reason, your dog should always wear a collar with your name and contact phone number on it.
As mentioned earlier, collars and tags can be easily lost, leaving the dog with no identifying information. Microchips, on the other hand, are permanent and cannot be lost. Provided you keep your registered information up to date, any vet or rescue organization with a microchip scanner will be able to contact you, and reunite you with your dog.
Microchips should not be used in place of license tags and collars, as microchips are not externally visible as a signal that your lost dog belongs to a family. Instead, both having your dog microchipped and using a tag and collar gives you the best chance of being reunited with your dog if they get lost or become separated from you.
Risks Associated With Microchipping
Some pet parents might have some concerns about pain, allergic reaction, or internal migration of the microchip. This method of identification has been in use for many years and has been implanted into millions of pets without incident. Newer microchips especially have been improved upon, making the likelihood of rejection or allergic reaction extremely rare.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.