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Dog Microchipping - How Microchipping Can Keep Your Dog Safe

What does it mean to have my dog microchipped?

To have your dog microchipped, what we do is implant a tiny microchip underneath the skin, typically somewhere around the shoulder blades or the back of the neck. And the microchip serves as a unique identifier for your pet.

Dr. Cason McInturff
Berry Farms Animal Hospital - Cupola Animal Hospitals

What Is A Dog Microchip?

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 12 mm in length, 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.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Microchipping Dogs?

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 the 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 the rewards far outweigh any potential risks.

Can microchips be used to track my dog?

Yes, they can, but not in the way a GPS functions. The way the microchip works, there is a specific number assigned to that chip. And in cases of a lost pet, which we see very frequently, we have a microchip scanner where we can scan that area of the back of the neck or the shoulder blades to identify that unique number associated with that microchip and thereby your pet.

Who can scan my dog's microchip information?

Most veterinary hospitals have a universal microchip reader. All of our shelters and some rescue organizations have them and those organizations that may be trying to help rehome animals that may have been lost. Again, we frequently experience dogs lost in the neighborhood. Someone brings the dog to our office, and we're able to scan it and identify if there is that unique number there. Once you have that information, you can contact the microchip services and help get that pet rehomed or back home.

What does the microchipping recovery process look like in the event my dog is lost?

So the way that the recovery process works is, again, there's a phone number for the microchip company. Depending on the exact manufacturer of the microchip, it might be a specific phone number. We contact that company, and they can tell you who that number is registered to. When we place the microchips, which often occurs when neutering or spaying our animals, we register that chip to your personal information. And keeping that current allows us to identify you and contact you in the event you lose your dog.

Why do vets recommend getting my dog microchipped?

Microchipping ensures that your pet will be home every night if they run off or get lost somewhere. I could tell you many stories about dogs and cats that have been gone for extended periods. And thankfully, because they had a microchip, that animal was able to make it back home. The other thing that's nice about our newer microchips is that they can read the internal body temperature of our pets too. So if your pet is sick one day and comes in and visits us at the hospital, instead of us having to use a rectal thermometer to try to get their temperature, we can use the microchip scanner to read what their body temperature is, if they have a fever or something like that.

Does Microchipping Dogs Replace Dog ID Tags?

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.

What if I forget or lose my dog's microchip information?

In this situation, you can contact the company that made the microchip and get that reassigned. If you need the specific microchip number, of course, a veterinary hospital or shelter would be able to obtain that with their microchip scanner.

Are there other smart products that can connect to my dog's microchip?

I don't think we're too far off from having some pretty cool stuff that can tie in with your dog's microchip. There are capabilities for automatic dog feeders that can recognize your dog and open up the food container whenever it approaches, which would be helpful in a multi-dog household, where some dogs might be trying to eat out of the same bowl or eating the other dog's food. I'm sure at some point, there's going to be some cool GPS location services as well. I don't know specifically that that is there, but I will tell you, as nice as the microchips have gotten in terms of their capability, I don't think those things are too far off at all.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (615) 224-7776, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

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