Many people are curious about microchipping a dog. Is microchipping a dog safe? How much does microchipping a dog cost? and what are the benefits to microchipping a dog? All of these questions will be answered in this article.
Why a dog should be microchippedMicrochips are used in dogs for the permanent identification of your dog should they become lost. They can also be quite useful in disputes over ownership of ones dog if they are lost, found, and claimed by someone other than the legitimate owner. For example my mother breeds Bernese Mountain dogs. She shipped two puppies to the same airport to be picked up by two different people. The people had picked their puppies according to pictures on my mothers website. My mother put the puppies in their kennel according to the read from their microchip and brought them to the airport. The problem is when the people picked the dogs up one lady recognized that the puppy did not look like the one in the picture, however the other lady insisted on keeping the one she got. What happened was the people at the air port must have let the puppies out and put them back in the wrong carriers! We simply had the people check the microchip reading and they ended up switching dogs.
Benefits of microchipping a dogAnother benefit of having your dog microchipped is if you are unlucky enough to have purchased a dog that has been stolen, they can also be identified through this procedure.
The chip itself is no bigger than a grain of rice and is implanted between the shoulder blades under the skin. Before implantation, your vet will select a chip that has its own unique 10-digit ID number. A needle and special syringe are used to insert the chip and it is essentially an easy and painless process for your dog, quite like them receiving a shot. Once the chip is in place, a small device (used to read it with the use of radio waves) similar to a scanner, will display the chip number on a screen. Generally, your vet will (and should) test out the chip to ensure it is picking up the information, in particular the ID number attached to it. Following the procedure, an enrolment form needs to be filled out with all pertinent information regarding your dog: number on the chip, all owner contact information, name and description of your dog, the vet's contact information, and an alternate emergency contact. The form is kept in database by a registry keeper which can include either the manufacturer (or distributor) of the chip, or an independent microchip provider. A registration fee to the designated provider is required and then you will have access to their 24-hour, toll free service for recovery of your dog. Your dog will also receive a metal tag with the chip ID number on it, which can be fastened to their collar.
Cost of microchipping a dogTypically the cost for microchipping runs between $50-$75; keep in mind, this is for the lifetime of your dog. While it has been reported that chips have sometimes moved from between the dog's shoulder blades, the chip remains in the dog regardless – when the vet scans a dog for identification, the manufacturers instructions recommend that the dogs entire body be scanned for detection of the chip and not just the original place of insertion. In addition, it is probably a good idea to have your dog scanned every time you bring them in for a check-up/procedure just to ensure the chip is still functioning as it should.
Is microchipping a dog safe?
If you are worried about the safety of having a microchip under your dogs skin, don't be: the chip itself is completely passive and contains no internal power source. Their design is specific to remaining inactive until acted upon.
Microchipping a dog has become more and more common and is used quite frequently by animal rescue groups, breeders, animal shelters, kennel's, trainers and humane societies. Responsible dog ownership is the best way to protect (and not lose) your pet, but if you feel there is any chance your dog has a means of 'escape' from your capable grasp, then microchipping is a safe and easy way to ensure additional reinforcement should you ever find yourself having to look for your lost dog.