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Should I get my dog microchipped?

Along with parasite prevention and vaccinations, microchipping is another way to help keep your pet safe. It can also help you reunite with your beloved companion if you are separated. Here, our vets in Sacramento talk about the microchipping procedure and what to expect if you have your dog microchipped.

What is a pet microchip?

Vets and animal shelters can use microchips - tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips - to locate pet owners if their animal has been found. Microchips are typically placed under the skin and are about the size of a grain of rice. 

What can I expect from the microchipping procedure?

Your dog will be positioned for the microchip injection before your vet inserts a needle preloaded with the microchip into the application syringe or gun and into its body. 

The microchip is usually placed in the subcutaneous tissue along the dog's spine, between the shoulder blades. For the most accurate placement, your dog should be lying on its stomach or standing up. Your veterinarian will gently pull up some loose skin before quickly inserting the needle and injecting the microchip. When the vet squeezes the applicator trigger, the microchip will be injected into the tissue. 

Having a microchip implanted in your dog will not require surgery. The chip will be placed just under the skin using a needle, with minimal discomfort. Most dogs hardly react to having a microchip implanted. 

Once your dog has been microchipped, you'll register the chip's serial number and your dog's information with the company that produced it. If your dog is found, the microchip's serial number can be matched with your dog's information to help trace you as the pet owner. 

Why not just get a collar and tag for my dog?

Collars and tags are useful tools for returning lost dogs to their owners. People can simply read the tag and call the phone number listed on it to contact the owner.

Your dog should always have collars and identification tags in case it gets into trouble. Be sure to include your name and contact number on the tag. 

As good as it is to equip your dog with a collar and identification tag, tags can fall off and get lost, leaving your dog with no identifying information. Microchips are a permanent way to provide your dog with a means of identification.

NOTE: It is important to keep your microchip registration information current. Contact the microchip company to update your information if you move or change your contact number. 

Since microchips are not externally visible as a signal that your dog belongs to a family, microchips should not replace license tags and collars. Instead, having your dog microchipped and using a collar and tag will allow you the best chance of being reunited with your dog if they become lost and separated from you.

What to do after microchipping your dog

Once your dog is microchipped, you must take a few steps to ensure efficacy. These include:

Register Your Microchip

You will need to register the microchip in the online database. This will ensure your contact information is linked to the microchip’s unique identification number. This information will be used if your dog is brought to a shelter, animal control, or veterinary clinic.

Update Your Contact Information

You must update the online database if you move or change your contact information. Accurate information is necessary to increase the likelihood of being reunited with your pet.

Keep a Form of Visible Identification

A regular collar with identification tags is still a good idea, even after your dog has been microchipped. These tags should include your dog's name and your phone number.

Let Others Know That Your Dog is Microchipped

Contact your veterinarian and local shelters to provide them with microchip information. They will note that your dog is microchipped, making it easier if your dog is ever brought in.

Bring Your Dog for Regular Check-ups

Your vet can check the microchip during routine exams to ensure its functionality.

Microchips for Responsible Pet Ownership

A microchip does not leave room for a lack of responsibility. You should always take any possible precautions to protect your pet, including a leash, a fenced backyard and routine preventive care.

How do microchips for dogs work?

The vet or rescue organization will use a special scanner to read the microchip if your dog has been found. Microchip scanners are universal and can read all modern chips, regardless of their brand. When the scanner is passed over the dog's back and sides, the microchip will transmit its unique identification number to the scanner.

The rescuer will then contact the national database to find your phone number and notify you that your dog has been found. Should your dog be stolen, microchips can also be very helpful in proving ownership.

Are there risks to having your pet microchipped?

Some pet parents might have concerns about pain, allergic reactions, or internal migration of the microchip. This identification method has been used for many years and implanted into millions of pets without incident. Newer microchips have been improved, making the likelihood of rejection or allergic reaction extremely rare.

Thanks to microchips, dogs can be reunited with their loving families even years after separation. Ask your Sacramento vets about having your canine friend microchipped as soon as possible.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Would you like the comfort of an added level of protection if you and your dog become separated? Contact our Sacramento vets to schedule a microchipping appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Elkhorn-Walerga Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Sacramento companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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