There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve lost your dog. Whether they’ve run off during a walk, escaped from a garden gate, or you simply can’t find them, as pet parents you want to be able to find your lost pet as soon as possible.
According to figures from American Humane, around one in three pets will get lost in their lifetime. This makes getting your dog microchipped essential for peace of mind. But, how exactly does a dog microchip work? Here’s all you need to know about dog microchipping.
What Are Microchips and How Do They Work?
Pet microchips are radio-frequency transponders that have a unique identification number. Each microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and can be scanned at a vet office or animal shelter. No battery or power is required for dog microchips. Instead, the non-invasive microchip is injected under your dog’s skin and has a permanent form, so it will remain there for your pet’s life.
So how do dog microchips work?
Once your pet has been microchipped, you need to go through the microchip registration process. Here, enter all relevant contact info that a local animal shelter would need to contact you. This includes your name, both landline and cell numbers, and an address. The more contact details and ownership information you leave, the greater chance you’ll be contacted. You also want to update all information stored if you move your address or change your number.
After registering your pet’s microchip with a national pet recovery database, your dog can be scanned by many rescue organizations throughout the country. This can give you peace of mind that if your pet should go missing, they can be picked up with their ID tag and ID number.
Where Are Dogs Microchipped?
Dog microchipping is a non-invasive procedure similar to an injection. It can be completed at your veterinarian’s office, in which your veterinarian will use a small needle to inject the microchip under the loose skin between your dog’s shoulder blades.
Prior to the procedure, your veterinary might use a microchip scanner to check for any past microchips. This electronic scanner will scan above your pup’s skin, which will take between 10 and 30 seconds.
Why is it important to chip dogs?
A pet microchip is important as it lets you find lost pets. With one in three pet owners losing their pet at least once, as a pet owner you want to take all measures possible to ensure your pet is found. Many pet parents think that a dog collar alone is enough to find their pets. While this can be a great starting point, a collar can be removed or lost.
With a dog microchip, you have a permanent way to find your dog is they go missing. Animal shelters throughout the country will have microchip scanners to scan your dog’s microchip, and will be able to contact you should your dog get lost.
How much does it cost to microchip a dog?
The average dog microchip cost is around $45 in the USA – this is a one-off fee and will usually include your registration fee with a microchip registry.
What Does a Microchip Accomplish?
It’s important to not to confuse a microchip with a GPS device, A GPS can be used to track your dog’s location, whereas a microchip will provide an individual with your pet’s information and your contact details. If your dog is brought to a veterinarian or shelter, a microchip will provide a way for you to be contacted.
According to stats by AKC Reunite, a lost dog with a microchip is up to 20 times more likely to be found and reunited with their pet parents.
Is Microchipping Painful?
Microchipping is very similar to traditional vaccinations. The procedure is more or less painless.
How and where is a dog chip implanted?
Your dog can be microchipped at your local vet’s office.
To start, the veterinary surgeon will pinch your dog’s skin until taut, desensitizing it in the process. A small device the size of a grain of rice will then be injected into the loose skin between your dog’s shoulders.
A final pinch will make sure that the microchip remains in place as the needle is taken out. Your veterinarian will also be able to help you complete any microchip registration forms following the procedure.
For the next 24 hours, it’s a good idea to keep your dog relaxed. Avoid any rigorous exercise as this will ensure the anti-migration coating on your dog’s microchip bonds with your pet’s skin and stays in one place.
What’s the minimum age to microchip a dog?
Dogs can be microchipped at any age. However, most vets will advise that dogs are at least seven to eight weeks old before being chipped, as they will enable them to grow the skin to make the procedure more comfortable.
Does your dog need a microchip if they wear a collar and tag?
Many pet owners ask why microchip a dog if they wear a collar and tag? While a collar and tag are a good start, both can be removed or broken. A pet microchip, on the other hand, will constantly stay with your dog. This means if they’re picked up by a shelter, their microchip number can be scanned, and you can be contacted. To give yourself full peace of mind, you can combine both to keep your pets safe all year round.
Can a microchip help me find my dog if it gets lost?
Pet microchips don’t work like GPS devices and can’t be used to track your pet’s location. Once registered with a microchip company, a pet microchip will work by providing a permanent ID for your dog. When a microchip scanner is passed over their shoulder blades, it will transmit an ID number that can be used to contact you.
Is a pet microchip worth the cost?
The cost to microchip your dog is seen as unnecessary to some dog owners. However, it can give you full peace of mind if you have a lost dog. It will provide a way for animal shelters and animal control to contact you if they find your furry friend, and it has other benefits too.
Having your pet microchipped can reduce the cost of pet insurance and, according to the American veterinary medical association, can double your pet’s rate of being returned. This number was even more significant for microchipped cats.
Do microchips have any side effects?
A common concern for dog owners is whether or not a microchip will have any side effects for their pet. This has been studied in-depth by the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA.) Out of over 4 million animals with a microchip, just 391 had an adverse reaction. The most common side effect is the microchip moving, with a minute number reporting hair loss, swelling, and infection. Given this small risk, the opportunity cost to microchip suggests microchips are far more beneficial than risky.
Your dog belongs with you
As animal owners, your dogs and pets belong with you. While the initial microchip cost can appear a little expensive, it will lower your pet insurance and significantly enhance the chances of your dog returning home if they get lost. Many owners believe this peace of mind is priceless, especially when you consider just how important your furry friends are in your life.