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Many pet parents outfit their dogs with a collar and tags. In addition to their rabies tag, a dog might also wear an ID tag that contains their pet parent’s contact information. Unfortunately, ID tags can get lost or become worn, dog microchips offer a more permanent form of identification.
A microchip is a tiny radio frequency transponder. Roughly the size of a grain of rice, it contains a unique identification number. When passed over with a handheld scanner, it transmits that number, allowing a vet or shelter to look up the pet parent’s information.
Microchips may contain a lot of information, but they aren’t GPS tracking devices. They can’t tell a pet parent where their dog is. They do, however, provide a way for a vet or shelter to contact the pet parents to let them know the dog’s location.
The process of dog microchipping is quick and easy, and it’s no more painful than receiving a vaccine (the process is similar, too). The vet places the microchip into the loose skin between the dog’s shoulder blades. There’s generally a one-time fee ranging from $25 to $50, which may also include the dog’s registration in a pet recovery database.
Microchipping a dog is the first step in ensuring he gets home safely should he ever become lost. The next, arguably most important, step is registering it with a national pet recovery database. Pet parents will provide their contact information (home address and phone numbers). They may also include a photograph and other pertinent information.
If a pet parent moves or adopts a dog that already has a microchip, they should change the information attached to the microchip as soon as possible. To do so, they’ll need to log into the appropriate database. If pet parents are unsure of the database, they can look it up with the microchip ID using the American Animal Hospital’s tool.
From there, pet parents can log into the database and update their dog’s information. If necessary, they may need to contact the database directly. They should include at least two phone numbers and their current home address.
Approximately one in three pets become lost. They could run from the house, bolt during a road trip, or escape during a move. Even with a collar and ID tag, a dog might run off when he’s not wearing them, or they might fall off after he gets lost. In some cases, another person could remove them.
Microchips help recover more than 10,000 lost pets every month, a fact that provides pet parents with greater peace of mind. Should their dog ever go missing, there’s a much greater chance that they’ll find their way home.
A dog might never go missing, but there’s always a risk. A microchip is a simple step pet parents can take to ensure their dog gets home safely if the worst ever happens. If pet parents need dog advice or puppy advice regarding microchips, they can speak with their primary vet or a Fuzzy Veterinarian 24/7 for more information.