Back when Chance was a puppy I had my social security number tattooed on the inside of his thigh. In those days we didn’t have computers and microchips. Nowadays, responsible pet owners are using a microchip to ensure that if their pets are ever lost and turned into the pound or a veterinarian’s office they will be returned as quickly as possible.
The microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted between the shoulder blades with a syringe like instrument. It contains no batteries or chemicals and has an active life of about 25 years. The age at which this can be done varies With the size and development of the dog, as a certain amount of muscle tissue is necessary. With larger breeds, it can be done by 7-9 weeks of age, which is when most puppies go to their new homes. Most vets now have the capacity to insert microchips.
When scanned, the microchip will reveal a code that is unique to the dog. By consulting the appropriate chip registry database, relevant information – including dog’s owner, breeder, emergency contact, even health problems and food requirements – can be obtained. Implanting the chip and registering the information is included in the cost.
There are several advantages to having a microchip implanted in your pet. For example, it cannot get lost or stolen like a collar can and it can provide all of the necessary information about the dog (even preferred food). The information provided by the chip can also be easily changed and updated if needed. There is however, one major disadvantage of microchips and is why I still prefer to have my pets tattooed. Microchips cannot be detected or read without a scanner and unfortunately, there are still many animal shelters and societies that do not have them.
If you haven’t had your pet implanted with a microchip or tattooed, please be sure to at least put an ID tag on their collar. While it’s not the most reliable, it’s better than no ID at all.