Are Microchips for Dogs a Good Idea?

Microchips for Dogs

Technology benefits everyone, including pet owners worried about their dogs, running away, getting lost or stolen.

According to the American Humane Association, microchipping pets increases the odds of getting them back.

The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that over 50 percent of owners of microchipped dogs had them returned when lost, while averages of about 20 percent of dogs without the chips were reunited with their owners. Collars and identification tags are also essential but microchips could make the difference between life and death for these lost pets. Microchipping is a onetime procedure that protects your pet for life.

Are you interested? Here are three factors to consider - cost, procedure and reliability - before you make your final decision.

Cost to Microchip a Dog

Dog microchips are not as expensive as many people think. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the cost ranges about $25 to $40. You also need to register the microchip number to the microchip company for a one-time registration fee of around $15 to $20. If you need to update some information later, there may be an additional charge. Aside from a one-time fee, expect to either make monthly payments for continued tracking or pay a per-need transaction fee .

Protect your best friend with microchips for dogsOf course, actual costs vary depending on where you decide to have the procedure performed. There are animal shelters that offer packages wherein the cost is already included in the animal's price when one is adopting or purchasing a pet.

You can also visit veterinary surgeons, animal clinics, and other animal welfare shelters to ask about microchipping costs and referrals to qualified providers. Some low-cost animal service organizations even provide options for people who cannot afford the implant and registration. For most owners, the small cost of an identifying microchip is outweighed by the advantages.

Are Microchips Safe for Dogs

As pet parents, you may be apprehensive about the manner by which a chip is implanted. Without questioning the benefits of this practice, you worry about the pain or trauma it could create for their pet. 

Most vets claim the dogs experience little or no pain – reportedly, about the same as that from vaccinations - and the report from the American Humane Association backs up this assertion. First, the size of the microchip is about the same as one grain of rice. The computer chip is housed in a glass that is compatible to living tissue. Using a special syringe, the microchip is placed under the skin found between the shoulder blades. This process is similar to the dog getting an injection, and most do not feel much or any kind of discomfort when injected.

Microchipping Tips

  1. Microchips are cost-effective. They are designed to last a lifetime and do not have to be replaced.
  2. Veterinarians must remove microchips.
  3. The chip could travel around the shoulder blades so if you have to locate it, scan the dog’s entire body.
  4. Veterinary clinics and most animal shelters usually have a scanner and can use it to identify a lost dog if it has a microchip.
  5. If you find a stray animal, bring it to one of the nearest offices of one of these organizations.

Make sure the microchip is universal because depending on the brand and implant year, some scanners may not be able to detect the microchip. While newer models are generally universal, older ones can be system specific, meaning that only certain equipment can be used to find the right scanning factors. The good news is these imperfections are being fixed, and this particular technology is continuously improving.

Microchipping as a Part of Pet Responsibility

Like any pet owner who views his or her dog as part of the family, the best way to take care of your pet is to keep track of it. Be sure to have your own copy of the dog's identification tag and consider the microchip as reinforcement. Never let your pets roam since this is the surest way to lose them. By being a responsible pet owner, you may never have any use for the microchip technology. However, the peace of mind you will get for having a dog microchipped far outweighs the insignificant monetary cost of under $100.

Whether to microchip or not is just one of the many dog health questions you may have to answer during your pet's lifetime. For answers to your questions about common problems such as fleas and ticks, you may enjoy reading "Flea Treatment Side Effects."
 

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Resources

Undisclosed author, “Identification Tags & Microchips,” American Humane Association
Undisclosed author, “Microchipping,” American Animal Hospital Association
Undisclosed author, “FAQs about microchipping of animals,” American Veterinary Medical Association
 

 

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