If your dog gets lost and someone finds them, the vet or animal control facility that they bring them to will scan your pup for a microchip to help them easily reunite you with your pet. Today, our Montecito vets talk about the benefits of microchipping your dog, how they work and if there are any risks involved.
If you grew up with a dog then you know that all dogs were usually licensed in their city and had a tag on their collar with their identifying information. Unfortunately, collars and tagged can be lost making it difficult if a lost dog was brought in without one.
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.
It was after this that microchips were tested.
What are microchips exactly?
Microchips are tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips. These microchips are transplanted into the skin between the shoulder blades of your pet. These are no larger than the size of a grain of rice!
This is a minimally invasive method of identifying your pup, needing only a small needle for the procedure. 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 number on the chip with the company that manufactures it and they will then have all of your information attached to that chip number.
Why are microchips better than collars and tags?
While tags and collars can be beneficial for helping to identify dogs, you will need to ensure that you keep them in good shape. 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.
The main drawback, as previously mentioned, is the fact that these can be taken off of a dog or lost. 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, 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.
How do microchips help identify my dog?
If your dog is brought in to a vet or clinic, the staff will scan for a microchip using a special type of universal scanner which will then provide all of your information.
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.
Are there any concerns with microchipping dogs?
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.
Thanks to microchips, dogs can be reunited with their loving families even years after being separated from them. Speak to your vet about having your canine companion microchipped as soon as possible!
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.