Your canine companion is a loyal, loving, and irreplaceable friend - one that may have an urge to wander and explore and runs the risk of getting lost. Unfortunately, it is all too common for dogs to lose their way back home and end up in a shelter. It is easy to think that it won't happen, but the reality is that a staggering number of dogs are lost in the shelter system each year because they lack reliable means for identification once they are found. At La Jolla Veterinary Hospital, we feel that dogs are part of the family, yours and ours, and that is why we recommend every dog receives an identification microchip.
Traditional dog ID tags that hang from a collar are a common-sense line of defense, however, dog ID tags can easily become separated from your dog. In cases of dog theft, a dog ID tag is the first thing a thief will discard. However, a microchip for dogs is a permanent solution that ensures your dog can be properly identified by a veterinarian or animal shelter and reunited with you.
A dog microchip comes preloaded in a sterile applicator and is injected under the loose skin between the shoulder blades. Although there is no universally agreed-upon location, a dog microchip is usually implanted between the shoulder blades. At approximately 12mm long, it is about the same size as a grain of rice. When performed by a veterinary professional, implanting a dog microchip takes a few seconds and is relatively painless. Once the microchip is implanted under the skin, it will remain for the entirety of your dog's lifetime.
It is important to understand that a dog microchip is not a GPS device providing real-time tracking capabilities. Rather, a dog microchip is a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) device. Unlike a GPS device, a dog microchip doesn't require power, and it is easily identified by an animal shelter or veterinarian waving an RFID scanner across a dog's body where the microchip is embedded. The scanner simply identifies the company that made the chip and provides an account number. Once the veterinarian has this information, they will contact the ID company, provide the account number, and then the company will contact you based on the information they have on file. Your information is never directly released to the veterinarian or to anyone else.
This brings us to an incredibly important part of dog microchipping: Registration! An RFID chip itself is useless if your registration isn't submitted and then kept current. Don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian any questions about the registration process, in order to ensure your dog can be accurately identified by its pet microchip.
Dog ID tags are the first line of defense in locating and identifying a lost animal. However, microchipping dogs is the second and in some ways more important line of defense for your dog. This is because microchipping dogs ensures that your pet's identification is never lost, stolen, removed, or compromised in any way.
To our knowledge, just about every animal shelter and veterinarian in the United States has RFID devices to perform a pet microchip lookup. However, there are various dog microchip manufacturers, and because of this, not all RFID scanners can detect every microchip for dogs. Therefore, shelters and veterinarians may keep several different scanners on hand to perform a pet microchip lookup on a dog.
A dog microchip cannot compromise your personal privacy. When the RFID scanner picks up the chip, the chip only provides an identification number that correlates to the chip's manufacturer. That number is called into the pet microchip lookup and recovery service, and you will be contacted by that service using the contact information on file. This is why it is essential to make sure your registration information is accurate.
A microchip for dogs hurts about as much as having blood drawn. The needle required for the injection causes a pinch during dog microchipping procedures. Because it is only a momentary injection, no local or general anesthetic is required.
Since it is quick and non-invasive, dog microchip cost is very reasonable.
Microchipping dogs is considered very safe. As with any medical procedure, there is always a risk of side effects. These include:
Swelling at the site of the injection (temporary)
Migration of the chip under the skin (rare and usually within an inch of initial location)
It is important to note that side effects have occurred in a very small portion of dogs and are minor. We recommend a dog microchip to every canine owner because any risks far outweigh the potential rewards.
If you are ready to schedule an appointment for dog microchipping services, please contact us today. Our staff would be happy to help you register your beloved canine friend into the pet recovery service database.