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Some Dog Thoughts

  • Stars and Stripes Dog Rescue


What is a microchip?

A microchip is a tiny little electronic device, about the size of a grain of rice, and it actually has RFID technology embedded in it. It's what's called passive RFID. And what that means is that the device just stores a number in one little circuit, and in order to tell someone at a veterinary office or shelter its number so that they can reunite you with your pet, it has to be activated by a scanner. So, the scanner and the micro-chip are a system that needs to work together. The shelters and vets’ offices have scanners, and it's standard practice everywhere in the country that when a lost pet comes in, they scan for that microchip. The scanner and the micro-chip talk, and the micro-chip tells the scanner its number.

Think of it almost as a social security number for your pet. Then you're able to look up that number in a database and connect the number of the chip to the pet owner's contact information. What's really important about that, though, is that people sometimes forget, is because that microchip only stores the number, you have to keep your microchip number registered in a database with your up-to-date contact information so that a shelter or a veterinarian can reunite you with your lost pet.

Is Microchipping harmful to your dog?

Micro-chipping is not any more painful than a vaccination. So, it does involve being stuck with a needle, and some dogs do feel it and notice it and don't love it; others ignore it, act like nothing ever happened. There's not any significant danger to being microchipped. As with anything like a vaccine, when you break the skin, there's always a danger of infection. So very rarely you will hear about infections from a microchip insertion, and that's why the vet or technician who's doing it will sterilize the area before they implant the microchip.

There have long been rumors microchips cause cancer in pets, but actually, all of the veterinary groups out there have looked for evidence of that and have not found any. So, they are very safe.

The most common place that people get their pets micro-chipped are either at the shelter or at their private veterinarian. Private veterinarians will tend to charge a little bit more. It could cost you in the neighborhood of 50 to 75 dollars. Whereas sheltering agencies and vaccine clinics sometimes offer it for much less.

What should you do if your dog gets lost?

Make it less likely for your pet to want to wander. So do spay or neuter. Because often, especially for male dogs, them getting excited about a female in heat is what causes them to go explore in the first place. So, you can lessen your chances by making sure your pet's spayed or neutered.

And then, as soon as your pet gets lost, as soon as you realize your pet's gone, you need a plan. That is everything from having good photos of your pet, posting them on social media, asking your friends and family to help you look, searching around your neighborhood, having an ID tag on your dog, so that hopefully a neighbor who finds them can bring them straight home without ever even going to the shelter.

That said, if you don't find your pet right away in your neighborhood, you should know where your local shelters are and file a lost pet report with them, as well as fliers in places around the neighborhood, and then keep checking back. Because sometimes a dog will be on their own for a couple of days before they end up at the shelter. So it could be that when you first called the shelter or visited the shelter, your pet wasn't there, but a couple of days later they are.

The biggest thing, is to be prepared. We talk to a lot of people who think that their pet's never going to get lost — it's an indoor animal; it's a dog that's with them all the time that never leaves the house — and what people tend to forget is the circumstances outside of our control — a natural disaster, a flood, a fire, the friend's child that leaves the front door open, the gardener that leaves the back gate open. So, the biggest tip is — even if you think your pet will never get lost, please prepare yourself and prepare them, so if they do, you have the best chance of getting them back home.

Here is a link to a registry. It’s free to use, free to update!!!!

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