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The Facts About Microchipping Your Dog

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According to the ASPCA, over 8 million animals wind up in animal shelters each year and, of those 8 million, only about 15 to 20 percent are ever reclaimed by their owners. Though some of the pets accounted for in this statistic are abandoned or homeless, many of them are simply pets that have gotten lost and their owners never found them. If your dog ever gets lost, you will be glad that you invested in a microchip, one of the simplest ways to protect your pet if you get separated.

What is Microchipping?

A microchip is exactly what it sounds like – a tiny chip that contains a number that can be used to identify your dog if he becomes lost. The chip is embedded directly under your dog’s skin between the shoulder blades using a needle. The process is very quick and simple and it can be performed by a qualified veterinarian or at an animal shelter. For the most part, microchipping your dog is relatively inexpensive, generally costing no more than $50 per chip. Once your dog is microchipped, the number is stored in connection with your contact information and, if your dog becomes lost, the chip can be scanned to retrieve the number and to contact you.

Related: Britain Passes Dog Microchipping Law

Pros and Cons of Microchipping

The main benefit of microchipping is, of course, the fact that it makes your dog easy to identify in the event that he becomes lost. Every microchip is given a unique number and that number is tied to the contact information you give at the time of the procedure. If your dog gets lost, the microchip can be used to contact you so you can be reunited with your pet. Another benefit of microchipping your dog is that it is a quick and relatively painless process. The process for injecting a microchip only takes a few seconds and it won’t hurt your dog any more than a simple blood draw. If you are concerned about the pain for your pet, have the procedure done at the time as your dog’s spay/neuter surgery so he or she will already be under anesthesia.

Though microchipping is a great way to protect your pet in the event that he gets lost, there are some negatives involved. If the microchip is not implanted correctly it can cause complications. The procedure for implanting the microchip is not dangerous in itself, but you should be sure to have it done by a qualified veterinarian to avoid mistakes and complications. There have been cases where dogs develop tumors at the site of a microchip implant but it is very rare and may not necessarily be related to the chip itself. Overall, the benefits of having your pet microchipped greatly outweigh the risks.

Related: What To Do If Your Dog Gets Lost

How a Microchip Helps you Find a Lost Pet

Unfortunately, there is no way to track your pet using a microchip – it will only work if someone finds your dog and turns him in to a shelter of a veterinarian’s office. When this happens, the chip can be scanned and the company that produced the chip will be contacted to get your information. Another thing to keep in mind with microchipping is that it is essential that you keep your information current. If you have a change of address or phone number, you must contact the company and update your registration. If your pet has a microchip but the information on file is out of date, it won’t help you.

Losing your dog can be a heartbreaking and traumatic experience and, unfortunately, not all lost dogs are reunited with their owners. Performing a manual search for your dog and posting flyers may work in some cases, but that is not always the case. The best way to ensure your pet’s return is to have him microchipped so that anyone who finds him can have him scanned and reunited with you as soon as possible.

 


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