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If you’re wondering why it’s important to get your dog microchipped, you’re not alone. Although microchipping has become standard protocol within shelters and rescues, not all pups have them. Still, these tiny trackers have helped countless lost dogs (and cats!) get back home to their families. Given that numerous dogs run away or are lost through different circumstances during their lifetime, a microchip can provide an extremely important lifeline.
For most people, the thought of losing your dog forever is, of course, devastating. Yet, there are ways to make this possibility far less likely. Whether you’re still deciding if a microchip is right for you and your dog, or are just searching for more information, read ahead.
What Are Microchips?
To begin with, the term “microchip” can sound a bit more intimidating than it really is. In reality, these implantable computer chips are no bigger than a grain of rice.
Here’s how the installation process goes: A veterinarian or vet tech places them underneath your dog’s skin (usually in-between the shoulder blades) using a small needle and syringe. This process doesn’t take any longer or cause any more pain than administering a vaccine. Microchips also weigh almost nothing and aren’t irritating or even noticeable by your dog after installation. As well, they have no potential health side effects.
Since each computer chip is encoded with a unique identification number that corresponds to your dog, they will always link your dog to your contact information. How? When scanned with radio signals at a vet office or shelter, they transmit that unique number back to the specialized scanner. With that information from the scanner, the person who has your lost dog can now look up your profile in a database. Soon, you’ll receive a phone call with the good news.
The Benefits Of Microchipping Dogs
Microchips have proven themselves time and time again as the most effective method for reuniting lost pets with their people. Cats and dogs have been returned to their families from all over the country. In fact, one cat was recently reunited with his people after 14 years due to the presence of a microchip!
According AKC Reunite, pets with microchips are up to 20 times more likely to be reunited with their owners. That makes a massive difference in the lives of dogs and their people. It also reduces the number of dogs waiting for adoption in shelters. Wherever you live, the first action that shelters or vet offices take upon receiving an unclaimed dog is to scan them for a microchip. If your pup has a microchip, then your reunion will likely be shortcoming!
Without a microchip, the process of finding a dog’s lost family will be much more extensive. Unfortunately, due to the far less precise nature of locating a non-microchipped pup’s family, many dogs are never found.
Another great aspect of getting a microchip is that it can never be lost, broken, or removed—like tags or a collar. Unlike tags, your contact information also can’t fade away or become illegible. Thus, this chip links your dog back to you for their entire lifetime, no matter the circumstance. Unlike other devices like GPS trackers, it also doesn’t require batteries or any source of power.
Misconceptions About Microchipping
Once a microchip is installed underneath your dog’s skin, there is another step you need to take. That unique identification number won’t enable your lost dog to be reunited with you unless you register it with a national pet recovery database. Although there are numerous national pet recovery databases, it’s likely best to stick with the service recommended by your vet.
In fact, most vet clinics (or other places that install microchips) will hand you an information sheet with instructions on how to register your dog’s chip. Using that information, you can register online or over the phone. All that’s required is your dog’s ID number, which is provided upon installation, as well as your address and phone number.
Note: This registration does cost a small annual fee. You also need to make sure to contact your dog’s microchip database every time you move. Your information will not automatically update. Without an updated address, your dog is at risk for not getting back home to you as efficiently and quickly as possible. For more information, speak with your vet or contact the database company you’ll be using ahead of time.
Another common misconception about microchips is that they’re able to track your dog’s location. Yet, no, these tiny chips aren’t GPS trackers. There is a positive aspect to this, though. Unlike GPS trackers, microchips—as stated above—can’t be lost or removed. They’re also not heavy, clunky, or detectable. Thus, if you’re looking to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your beloved pup, always always opt for installing a microchip. Your dog will be happy you did!