In the United States, around 10 million pets are lost every year, with the majority of them ending up in animal shelters. On average, there are 920,000 shelter animals euthanized annually. Of those, approximately 390,000 are dogs.

As a trusted dog transport company, we also aim to help protect our clients from the heartache of losing a pet. 

One of the best ways to protect your furry friends is through microchipping technology. A microchip gives you the best chance of being reunited with your pet. These devices enable veterinarians and animal shelters to identify the dog’s owner and notify them that the dog has been found. This way, their owner, can retrieve them immediately.

In this guide, we discuss:

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a tiny electronic device contained in a glass cylinder.  It is injected under the animal’s skin using a hypodermic needle. 

Microchips can be injected into different animals, including: 

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Horses
  • Birds
  • Rabbits
  • Llamas
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Snakes

When a lost pet is found and taken to either a vet practice or animal shelter, one of the first things they will do is scan the animal for a microchip.  

Each chip comes with a unique registration number and the phone number of the microchip manufacturer. A special handheld scanner is used to read the chip’s radio frequency and access its registration number. Shelters then contact the microchip company where the chip is registered to get the pet owner’s name or phone number.

The microchip is not a GPS device. It cannot locate or track down lost animals, and neither does it contain the animal’s medical information. However, there are newer microchip registration databases that can store the animal’s medical history in a database for quick access.

How effective is microchipping?

A study of more than 7,700 stray animals in shelters revealed that microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Meanwhile, dogs without microchips were reunited with their owners 21.9% of the time.

Unlike collars and ID tags, microchips are designed to last your pet’s entire life. They won’t break, wear off, or become illegible over time, so there’s no need to replace them. A microchip will not expose your personal information to anyone who finds your pet.

veterinarian with a pomeranian puppy

How is a microchip implanted into an animal?

The entire implant process is fast and simple, and no anesthetic is required. In fact, it’s similar to a regular vaccine routine. A long needle is used to implant the microchip underneath the animal’s skin. 

In dogs and cats, the microchip is usually inserted between the shoulder blades. To ensure that the chip stays in place, microchips are often inserted with anti-migration features. 

Microchip implantation can be performed in most veterinarians’ offices and animal shelters. The process is so straightforward that it can be done during your dog’s routine vet exam. 

Most rescue shelters already microchip their animals before they are put up for adoption. If you’re unsure whether your adopted dog has been microchipped, simply bring them to a shelter or veterinarian for a quick scan.

If your adopted dog already has one, you must register their ID number with your contact details.

The most important part of microchipping is completing the registration process. This can be done online or at the clinic or shelter on the day of the procedure. Remember that the chip will be useless if your contact details aren’t on the microchip company’s database.

How much does microchipping cost?

Microchipping isn’t exactly expensive. The average dog microchip cost ranges from $40 to $60. That includes the cost of the actual chip, the procedure, and the online registration process.

The procedure and chip size are the same regardless of the dog’s size or breed. 

Are there any risks or side effects?

Microchipping is generally safe as long as it’s performed by a licensed veterinarian who knows where and how the chip should be implanted. Risks, side effects, or complications are rare. The worst-case scenario is that the chip will move slightly to a different spot in your dog’s body. This is why vets usually scan the dog’s entire body when checking for a microchip.

In some cases, dogs with sensitive skin may experience mild hair loss for a few weeks. Swelling is also common immediately after the procedure and resolves itself within a few days.

Should your dog experience any pain or discomfort after the procedure, it’s best to visit a veterinarian right away.

Should you microchip your dog?

Definitely! Thanks to microchips, it has never been easier to reunite lost pets with their owners. With microchipping, owners can be contacted faster, helping prevent overcrowding in shelters and reduce stress levels for all animals.

Keep your dog safe 24/7

Microchipping is one of the most effective ways to ensure your dog is easy to identify if they  get lost. For more lost pet prevention tips or dog transportation services, feel free to contact Pet Van Lines anytime. 

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