2009 Articles

Microchip Identification – Is It Right For Your Pet?

Microchip Identification – Is It Right for Your Pet?

It’s a horrible experience for a family – a pet was lost and never made it home. Though most dog owners fear this situation, few have done much to protect themselves from this painful ordeal.

Though collar tags that include your contact information on them can be a fair bit of protection, they can easily be lost, or worn and damaged to the point of being unreadable. Many families forget to buy new tags after moving to a new location, and this makes them entirely useless for recovering the pet.

Tattoos are another option that may be employed, but these too often blur and become unreadable over time and, depending on where they are located, can go completely un-noticed, particularly on thick-furred breeds. Tattoos are a bit more difficult to “update” when you move, and you must keep in mind that receiving a tattoo is *not* a pleasant experience for your pet.

In this age of modern technology, perhaps the best way to protect your canine family member is by using a microchip. While some owners will argue that they don’t want to subject their pets to an “invasive” procedure, you must understand that receiving a microchip is no more invasive than receiving a vaccination. In fact, they are injected using a syringe, usually under the skin between the shoulder blades, and most animals show no reaction at all to receiving them. These chips are no larger than a grain of rice, cannot be felt by hand, and do not move around under your pet’s skin. If you own a teacup breed, rest assured that the same chips are used in rare an exotic birds, so even the smallest dogs can use them.

The use of microchips in animals, reptiles, and even fish has been extensively tested an found to be harmless to the animal, so for this reason are widely advocated by veterinarians and other animal professionals worldwide. The chip itself has no battery or other internal power supply, so it cannot “burn out”, and it will last the lifetime of your pet. They are read by the use of a small handheld scanner, which sends a harmless radio wave out and allows the chip to emit its unique pre-programmed identification number almost instantaneously. This information is displayed on the scanner’s screen, along with brief data that allows your pet’s “rescuer” to know which company to call to learn whom the animal belongs to.

Two of the most widely-used and recognized microchip companies are HomeAgain and Avid. Shelters and veterinarians are familiar with them and know what to do when your pet is found wearing one of these chips. Both companies maintain databases that have detailed information on your pet, including your contact information, as well as some “backup” contacts, such as your veterinarian and/or other family members in case you cannot be reached. These databases are available 24 hours a day to shelters and other animal professionals. If you move to another location or the animal changes hands, it is a simple matter for the owner to have the information in the database updated.

While some may grumble about the cost of micro chipping, I’ve met few owners who were willing to put a price on the joy of having a lost pet returned to them. Since the chips cannot be lost or altered, they are truly a valid form of permanent I.D., and very possibly your best chance of recovering your pet if they are ever lost.

Dog Article courtesy of http://www.i-love-dogs.com/