Every pet owner should microchip their furry family member. It is a simple, relatively inexpensive, and mostly painless procedure. If your dog is ever lost, the chip will greatly increase your chances of a happy reunion. There are amazing, inspiring stories of how microchips help dogs return to their owner’s arms. But just like anything, success is never a 100% guarantee.
But there are always headaches to pair with the triumphs. So here’s everything you need to know to microchip your pet- and give yourself the best odds, if your pup is ever lost, for a quick and safe return home.
1. Microchipping Is Easy
The microchip is implanted with a needle, usually between your pup’s shoulder blades, in a quick and mostly painless operation. Your pup will experience about the same pinch as one would get from giving blood, and he won’t be able to feel the chip once it’s in. The service generally costs little more than $50.
2. The Chip Can Contain All The Info You Need
Each chip has a unique number on it that can be picked up and read by a scanner. A veterinarian or animal shelter that scans your dog will be able to easily access all the information they need to reach you. They access that information through your registration.
3. Register Your Microchip With Up-To-Date Info
After the microchip is implanted, you have to register it. That’s how the chip number connects to your dog’s name, your contact info, and the contact info for the veterinarian or shelter that implanted the chip.
You have to submit your registration and keep the registered info updated. Make sure the paperwork is submitted and the chip is registered to you, with your phone number attached. If your contact info changes, make sure to update your registration.
Ask your veterinarian’s advice for which registration site you should use. There are plenty of options: the Microchip Registration Center, AKC Reunite, or PetKey, just for starters.
4. Microchipping Can Make Your Dog Easier To Find
There are success stories across the country of microchips helping owners get reunited with their lost pets. And considering that many shelters have limited space and often have to euthanize animals, the microchip increases the chances that your dog is identified and recovered before an unthinkable tragedy happens. Another perk: unlike a collar or tags, which might slip off, your microchip is with your pup for life.
5. The Microchip Must Be Scanned Correctly
The chip has to be scanned to work- it’s not a GPS device. Ask your veterinarian and your local shelter if they scan for microchips, and if they use a universal scanner. And likewise, encourage your neighbors and friends, if they ever find a lost pet, to send that pet into a vet or a shelter and ask for a microchip scan.
6. Not All Scanners Pick Up All Microchips
Universal scanners are becoming more common, but some work better than others. And a scanner is only useful if you know how to use it- scanning in the right place, with the right technique. Hopefully, the vet or shelter that finds your lost pup will know the drill. Sadly, there’s no way to guarantee it.
7. Some Chips Are Easier To Scan Than Others.
Some chips are more universally read than others, so check with your vet for her chip recommendation. It never hurts to have your vet’s contact information registered on your microchip. If your contact info changes but you forgot to keep it updated, your vet will be easy to find– and they can be the missing link that connects you to your lost dog.
8. Microchips Sometimes Migrate.
Although rare, it is possible that your dog’s microchip could migrate from its spot between the shoulder blades. And if this happens, not even the best scanner will work. Make sure to ask your vet at your dog’s annual checkup to scan for the microchip, to make sure it’s where it should be. If the chip has migrated, ask your vet for recommendations on how to get it back in place.
9. Microchips Are An Addition, Not A Replacement, For A Collar And Tags.
You absolutely still need a collar and tags. After all, if your dog is lost, the person who finds her might not know anything about microchips. You need a tag with your phone number on it. A phone number, after all, is the easiest way for anyone who finds your dog to reach you.
10. Bottom Line: Use Common Sense.
Don’t let your pet run loose. You can hope that someone finds your lost dog, but you’ll improve your chances of never having this fear in the first place if you keep an eye on your pup, use a leash, and keep your yard’s fences secure.
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