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Dog Microchipping


Why Should I Microchip My Dog?

Your canine companion is a loyal, loving and irreplaceable friend - one that may have an urge to wander and explore and runs the risk of getting lost. Unfortunately, it is all too common for dogs to lose their way back home and end up in a shelter. It is easy to think that it won't happen, but the reality is that a staggering number of dogs are lost in the shelter system each year because they lack reliable means for identification once they are found. At Lowell Animal Hospital, we feel that dogs are part of the family, yours and ours, and that is why we recommend every dog receives an identification microchip.

Traditional dog ID tags that hang from a collar are a common sense line of defense, however dog ID tags can easily become separated from your dog. In cases of dog theft, a dog ID tag is the first thing a thief will discard. However, a microchip for dogs is a permanent solution that ensures your dog can be properly identified by a veterinarian or animal shelter, and reunited with you.

What Is A Dog Microchip?

A dog microchip comes preloaded in a sterile applicator and is injected under the loose skin between the shoulder blades. Although there is no universally agreed upon location, a dog microchip is usually implanted between the shoulder blades. At approximately 12mm long, it is about the same size as a grain of rice. When performed by a veterinary professional, implanting a dog microchip takes a few seconds and is relatively painless. Once the microchip is implanted under the skin, it will remain for the entirety of your dog's lifetime.

Will A Dog Microchip Track My Dog Via GPS?

It is important to understand that a dog microchip is not a GPS device providing real time tracking capabilities. Rather, a dog microchip is a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) device. Unlike a GPS device, a dog microchip doesn't require power, and it is easily identified by an animal shelter or veterinarian waving an RFID scanner across a dog's body where the microchip is embedded. The scanner simply identifies the company who made the chip and provides an account number. Once the veterinarian has this information, they will contact the ID company, provide the account number, and then the company will contact you based on the information they have on file. Your information is never directly released to the veterinarian or to anyone else.

This brings us to an incredibly important part of dog microchipping: Registration! An RFID chip itself is useless if your registration isn't submitted and then kept current. Don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian any questions about the registration process, in order to ensure your dog can be accurately identified by it's pet microchip.

Does Microchipping Dogs Replace Dog ID Tags?

Dog ID tags are the first line of defense in locating and identifying a lost animal. However, microchipping dogs is the second and in some ways more important line of defense for your dog. This is because microchipping dogs ensures that your pet's identification is never lost, stolen, removed or compromised in any way.

How Does The Pet Microchip Lookup Work?

To our knowledge, just about every animal shelter and veterinarian in the United States has the RFID devices to perform a pet microchip lookup. However, there are various dog microchip manufacturers, and because of this not all RFID scanners can detect every microchip for dogs. Therefore, shelters and veterinarians may keep several different scanners on-hand to perform a pet microchip lookup on a dog.

Will My Personal Information Be Accessible Through The Dog Microchip?

A dog microchip cannot compromise your personal privacy. When the RFID scanner picks up the chip, the chip only provides an identification number that correlates to the chip's manufacturer. That number is called into the pet microchip lookup and recovery service, and you will be contacted by that service using the contact information on file. This is why it is essential to make sure your registration information is accurate.

Does Microchipping Dogs Cause Pain?

A microchip for dogs hurts about as much as having blood drawn. The needle required for the injection causes a pinch during dog microchipping procedures. Because it is only a momentary injection, no local or general anesthetic is required.

How Much Does A Dog Microchip Cost?

Since it is quick and non-invasive, dog microchip cost is very reasonable. 

Are There Any Side Effects Of Microchipping Dogs?

Microchipping dogs is considered very safe. As with any medical procedure, there is always a risk of side effects. These include:

  • Swelling at the site of the injection (temporary)
  • Migration of the chip under the skin (rare and usually within an inch of initial location)

It is important to note that side effects have occurred in a very small portion of dogs and are minor. We recommend a dog microchip to every canine owner because any risks far outweigh the potential rewards.

Featured Quote:

How do you register your pet? You go online to a specific website.

Video Transcript:

Hi. My name is Amanda. I am one of the veterinary technicians here at Lowell Animal Hospital. This is Percie. He's going to be my wonderful model today.

What we're going to be talking about today is micro chipping. Millions of pets become lost or stolen every day. It's very important to have them micro chipped because all it takes for someone when they steal your pet or they become lost is to take off the collar. Of course, this is where all of your information is. So, if they're not micro chipped, the veterinarian or the dog wardens cannot successfully know whom your pet belongs to. Micro chipping takes all that pain away for you.

For $50, you can actually have your pet micro chipped and Persie here was actually micro chipped 10 years ago. He was micro chipped with a chipping company called Home Again. I will tell you there are several different brands of micro chipping companies out there. There's Avid, Home Again, Petly. There's Rescue, PetWatch. All of them are pretty much the same. They're all fine to use. Your local veterinarian will have their own that they will recommend.

What they do is they come in and a lot of times for spays and neuters, we really like to get them done when they are under because it is a fairly large injection and the microchip is actually in here. It's about the size of a grain of rice. We inject that under the shoulder blades here and what it does is the tissue will start to wrap around your microchip. It will stay there for life and it will not migrate, but just in case, whenever a pet comes in that is homeless, we want to make sure we check the entire body just to make sure and you will see that ten years ago Persie was micro chipped and that is his number. His name is 98512101. If you follow me, I'll actually show you on xray what it looks like for the microchip underneath.

As you can tell, now this is a little bit blown up, but this is his rice sized microchip and it has not moved since he got it 10 years ago. All you have to do is ask your local veterinarian or dog warden to go ahead and microchip your pet so that they are safe for life.

How do you register your pet? There is a paper within your micro chipping booklet that you will get and you fill that out. You go online to the specific website. Fill that out online and then, you are all set.

How Can I Schedule An Appointment To Get A Dog Microchip?

If you are ready to take the steps to protect your dog, stop in today. Our staff would also be happy to help you register your beloved canine friend into the pet recovery service database. 

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