What is a microchip?
Today, microchip technology is found everywhere, from computers and cell phones, to implants in wild animals for tracking of their movements, to pet microchips that provide identification information. Different types of microchips work in different ways, depending on their purpose.
The purpose of microchips used for pets is to provide a form of permanent identification. These microchip implants are called radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. They are tiny, about the size of a large grain of rice, and are passive. This means that they passively store a unique identification number and do not actively transmit any information. The microchip implanted in your dog has no battery and no internal power source, so it sits inertly in the dog until it is read by a microchip scanner.
Is there anything else I have to do?
Once your pet is microchipped, you must register your pet along with your name and contact information with the appropriate agency. Your veterinarian will provide you with the relevant documents and contact information and will tell you if any fees are required. Failure to register your pets microchip identification will render the entire process useless, as the microchip number will not be associated with anyone.
If you move or change your contact information, be sure to update your pets microchip information. If your pet is lost and recovered, this information is necessary to reunite you with your pet.
The microchip can be read with a microchip scanner, which detects the specific electronic code embedded in the chip, and displays the identification number on the scanners screen.
Since the occasional microchip may migrate, or move out of position, the microchip reader will be passed over the entire body of the pet in order to ensure that the chip is detected if present.
Most, if not all, humane societies and animal shelters now have universal microchip readers, and routinely scan all stray and injured animals. Steps are being taken to standardize the readers and develop databases that can be readily accessed.
Does it painful to insert the chip?
The procedure is fast, safe, and appears to be relatively pain-free. The chips are usually inserted without incident, even in the tiniest puppies. The application needle is large, and some clients will choose to have the microchip implanted at the time of spaying or neutering, so that the dog can be anesthetized for the injection. However, this is not necessary, and the microchip can be implanted at any time that is convenient.
How to Microchip a Dog
Despite your best efforts, accidents can happen. Someone leaves a door ajar, an intrepid pooch digs under a fence, and your best intentions go awry: Your pet escapes and gets lost. If theyre wearing a collar and identification tag, chances are good that you’ll get them back.
To protect their pets, many owners turn to technology, in the form of identification microchips implanted in their pets. Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that can be implanted in your pets skin by many veterinarians and animal shelters; some shelters implant one in all pets they place.
Microchips are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the main one. Reading a microchip takes a special scanner, one that an animal control officer or shelter will have, but your neighbor down the street will not. And if Fido wanders off, its likely to be a private citizen who encounters them first. Thats why, in the event of accidental separation, identification tags are your pets first ticket home.
That said, microchips provide an extra level of protection in case your pet loses their collar and tags. Providing your pets with both tags and a microchip can help ensure a happy reunion if the unthinkable happens.