May is National Chip Your Pet Month, and no, we don’t mean feed your pet chips and dip. 🙂
Microchipping your pet helps your pet find his way home to you if he ever becomes lost or separated from his family. Most veterinarians offer the procedure and it’s completed in just a few minutes. The chip is places just under the skin and can be read by a special scanner (kind of like the handheld one the grocery store clerk uses).
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What Happens When You Microchip Your Dog?
We had our new puppy microchipped at her first vet appointment. The vet spread out a few yummy treats on the table to keep her busy, loaded the cartridge, and injected the chip between her shoulder blades, near her neck. The puppy yelped, but only for a second and all was forgotten a minute later when more treats appeared. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice. We paid $44 for the microchipping. (I’ve seen that prices can range from about $50-$100.)
The vet tested the chip with her scanner and explained that we would need to register the chip number online and gave us written directions with the URL. She also explained that the chip was linked to her office specifically, so if the pup was lost before we registered, they would call her office and she could track it in her records by the number.
Registration was easy and took less than five minutes. We entered our contact information, the dog’s breed, sex, and physical characteristics like coat color and distinctive markings. Then, we put a special rubber tag on the puppy’s collar that identified her as a microchipped pet so any animal officer or veterinarian would know to scan her.
Most humans societies and dog pounds have at least one type of wand in the facility, and many have a “universal” wand that reads any type of chip. Microchips help lost dogs get home. An Alabama Yorkie found in Iowa was recently reunited with her family thanks to a microchip.
One of the really nice things about the microchip is it is always with your dog. It’s not like an ID tag on a slipped collar or a dog license that has the information rubbed off. The chip is safely stored just under your dog’s skin. Plus, it’s linked to you and your veterinarian. So even if you change phone numbers and forget to update your registration online, the chip is still linked to your veterinarian, who is very likely to have your current contact information.
If your pet goes missing, you can log into the registry website and report your dog as missing. They will share your dog’s description and any photos you have uploaded with shelters in your area. The service we used also has a special link to print out missing dog flyers if you need them as well.
What Kinds of Dogs are Candidates for Microchipping?
All pets are candidates for microchipping, but talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns or believe your pet has a medical condition that could contraindicate a microchip.
New puppies, dogs who like to run as soon as the door is open (my mom’s Yorkie is notorious for this), and dogs who’s families have recently moved or who are planning on moving should be microchipped for safety. These dogs may have a hard time finding their way back home. Also, dogs with hearing or vision problems and those who are older with memory problems can benefit greatly from a microchip.
The cost of microchipping our new puppy ($44 in our case) is well worth the peace of mind of knowing she can easily be returned to us if she goes missing. Since May is National Chip Your Pet Month, some veterinarians are running specials on the service, so call your veterinarian to make an appointment for your cat or dog.