Yes, Your Dog Needs a Microchip

shutterstock_295165475Each of my lost animal cases is unique as far as the type of animal, location, breed and the reason they went missing. I’m a big proponent of supplying your dogs with as much identification as possible just in case they go missing. However, many of my clients don’t provide any form of identification for their dogs. This, of course, adds to the challenge of trying to locate their dogs when they are missing. One of the best and easiest forms of identification for your dog is a microchip.

A microchip is a small rice-sized chip that is easily inserted by your veterinarian between your dog’s shoulders. All of your dog’s pertinent information is then stored in the chip manufacturer’s database. Should your dog go missing and is found by someone, they can simply take your dog to a nearby veterinarian, animal control facility, or animal rescue shelter where they can be scanned with a RFID scanner that captures the chip’s information. The manufacturer of the chip is then notified, your dog’s information is retrieved from their database, and you’re notified that someone has located your dog.

Collars and tags are a basic first start in identifying your dog. However, a dog can easily lose their tags if the clasp breaks or the collar gets stuck on something and becomes dislodged. Often, especially after being bathed, a collar and tags will be left off of the dog. People simply forget or figure they’ll put the collar and tag back on their dog when they are ready for the next walk. However, if your dog slips out of the door, gate or backyard without their collar and tags being on them, there will be no basic information to go on should your dog be found. In addition, if someone is intent on keeping your dog, the collar and tags can be easily removed. This is why I also suggest getting a microchip for your dog.

A microchip worked well for a woman I know whose Chihuahua slipped out the gate in her back yard. Since the dog was small and never left the yard, the human companion felt no need to keep a collar and tag on her tiny dog. Her dog wandered the streets for a few hours and ended up resting on a front porch a few blocks away. She was contacted a few hours later and was told that someone had found her dog and took the initiative to bring the dog to the veterinarian to be scanned for a microchip.

It’s important to keep all of your dog’s microchip information current with the manufacturer who stores the information. Any change in where the dog lives or health status should be reported.

I’ve worked with thousands of people trying to locate and identify their lost animals. In my opinion, a microchip for your dog needs to be one of the first steps in protecting them.


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Positively Expert: Tim Link

Tim Link is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Animal Writes" on Pet Life Radio. He is an internationally recognized animal expert, communicator, and consultant. As part of his passion for helping animals , Tim has also mastered Reiki - an ancient art of energy healing - which he uses on animals.


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