The Benefits of Microchipping Dogs

Microchipping dogs is a safe, permanent method of identifying canine pets. Statistics show that 1 in 3 dogs will become lost during their lives, but only 17 percent of those animals return to their owners. A microchip can help improve the odds of your dog being returned safely if he wanders off or is taken from your home.

How Does a Microchip Work?

A microchip helps identify your dog. Animal shelter or veterinary clinic staff members use a scanner to read the small computer chip, which contains a unique code number that will help reunite you and your dog. Microchip manufacturers estimate that 275 billion unique identification numbers are currently available, which means that no two dogs can ever have the same number.

The information in the chip connects the staff member to the registry that manages your dog’s microchip. The registry has your contact information on file, and the staff member can now alert you to your dog’s location.

While a microchip is very helpful at locating a lost pet after the fact, it cannot be used to track an animal on the move because the radio frequency emitted by the chip is only detectable by a scanner that’s held over the chip.

Your veterinarian can implant a microchip in your dog fairly easily. He or she will inject the chip between your dog’s shoulder blades, and your dog will feel very little (if any) pain. Any dog aged 6 months or older is a candidate for the microchip implant. The chip is designed to last about 25 years.

Better Scanners Now Available

European pet owners have made better use of microchip pet identification than American owners have. A major drawback to more widespread microchip use in the United States has been that the microchip manufacturers have been reluctant to join together and share resources, but that has begun to change. The companies have designed universal scanners, which read more than one type of chip, and have made the scanners easily available to shelters and veterinary clinics. The chip manufacturers are also collaborating with the American Animal Hospital Association to create an Internet search engine to help shelter and veterinary clinic workers locate microchip code information that will help pets and owners get back together.

What’s Good About a Microchip?

Microchips are a permanent method of identification and an ideal backup to your dog’s identification tags and collar. While some dogs seem to always lose their ID tags, the microchip will always be with them.

If your dog runs away from your home or gets lost while you’re out on a walk, a microchip implant helps improve his odds of being reunited with you. The chip can help humane organizations reunite you and your pet more quickly, and it can also help you prove ownership of a companion animal if there is a dispute.