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Should I get a microchip for my dog?

Microchipping your dog can increase the chances that they are found if they get lost. Our Clackamas vets discuss the benefits of getting a microchip for your dog.

What is a pet microchip?

Vets and animal shelters can use microchips—tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips—to locate dog owners if their pet 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 (lying on their stomach or standing up) for the microchip injection before your vet places a needle that's been preloaded with the microchip into the application syringe or gun into their body. 

The microchip will usually be placed in the subcutaneous tissue along the dog's spine, normally between the shoulder blades. Your dog should be either lying on his stomach or standing up for the most accurate placement. Your veterinarian will gently pull up some of the 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 does not require surgery. The chip will be placed just under the skin using a needle and involve little discomfort. In fact, most dogs hardly react to having a microchip placed. 

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

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

When it comes to returning lost dogs to their owners, collars and tags can be useful tools. 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 they do get lost. Be sure to include your name and contact number on your dog's 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 up to date. Be sure to 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, both having your dog microchipped and using a collar and tag will give you the best chance of being reunited with your dog if they become lost. 

How do microchips for dogs work?

If somebody finds your dog, a vet or rescue organization can use a special scanner to read the microchip. 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. or the vet, or the rescue organization, will then contact the national database to find out your phone number so that you can be notified that your dog has been found. Should your dog be stolen, microchips can also be very helpful when it comes to proving ownership.

Are there risks to microchipping my dog?

Some dog parents might have some concerns about pain, allergic reaction, or internal migration of the microchip. This method of identification has been in use for many years and has been implanted into millions of pets without incident. Newer microchips, especially, have been improved upon, making the likelihood of internal migration or allergic reaction extremely rare.

Thanks to microchips, dogs can be reunited with their loving families even years after being separated from them. Ask your Clackamas 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.

Is it time to have your dog microchipped? Perhaps you have questions about the procedure? Contact our Clackamas vets today for a microchip appointment.

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