I am one of the most paranoid people I know about keeping my dogs safe. But I also believe that no matter what I do towards this end — unexpected things do happen and they’re not always good things. I’m paranoid, not perfect. I will never forget the day Riley at about 10-11 months old totally unexpectedly bolted out of the house. I was signing for a package and before I could stop him he’d run across the street and very narrowly missed being hit by two cars. If he’d been hurt (or worse) it would have been my fault and I would never forgive myself, not ever.
We humans we have moments when our brains fart and we make mistakes. We don’t mean to make a mistake but we do and the consequences can go from very minor to absolutely devastating. He got away from me once and I don’t intend for that to ever happen again — but that doesn’t mean it won’t. It doesn’t mean something else won’t happen causing one or both of my furkids to be walking the streets without me. I could get lucky and whoever finds them would see to it that they got home. I could lose them forever to a dog-napper, getting hit by a car or even to someone who falls in love with them at first sight and decides to keep them. The possibilities are pretty much endless if you think about it.
We keep our dog’s rabies and ID tags on their collars making for easy access to the information should it ever become necessary. But dog tags can get lost or break off their collar. Humans sometimes tend to get lazy and so it goes like this “I’ll put the tags back on tomorrow.” and then tomorrow never comes. People with their own agendas can remove dog tags.
Microchips are inserted into your dog under their skin by means of a gadget much like a syringe for injections only the needle is a bit bigger. This makes a microchip nearly impossible to get lost and removal would most certainly involve some kind of surgical procedure.
Micro-chipping your dog has an added bonus. It can help you identify yourself as your dog’s owner if you should ever need to prove ownership – like if your dog is stolen and the thief is claiming the dog is his.
This question seems to have two answers. There are those who believe a microchip stays put right where the vet inserted it. On the other side of the fence are those who have experienced what’s called “chip migration” with their dog’s micro-chip. What this means is that the microchip moved to another location in the dog sometime after it was inserted which is why I said that a microchip is nearly impossible to get lost. If the person scanning the dog doesn’t find the chip where they expect to, they may not know to check the dog’s entire body just in case the chip’s moved and they’ll mistakenly conclude that the dog is not chipped.
The latter answer got me to wondering about the chips implanted in my own dogs. What good is a microchip if it can’t be found in the dog?
Riley had his annual exam in April and while we were there I asked our vet to check the chip location. She’d not heard of a chip migrating but after I explained why I wanted her to check for it, she got curious. If you think of a metal detector, this is kind of how a chip reader works. You pass the reader over the dog a few inches above the area where the chip was inserted. I got a little nervous and our vet a little surprised when the little bugger wasn’t being picked up by the chip reader. She swapped out the batteries on the chip reader and BINGO! The chip reader picked it up on the first swipe and it was exactly where it was supposed to be.
I fully intend to have her check for Nissa’s chip when she goes for her exam in the fall.
Because the answer to chip migration can be yes or no, my suggestion is to make scanning for the chip a part of your dog’s annual exam.
No, it’s not. The cost to micro-chip pets has come way down since they first came out. As I recall it cost about $30 each to have our furkids chip-protected and that was several years ago. There are many humane societies and other pet organizations that hold micro-chipping events where you can get your pet chipped for as little as $5.00 or $10.00. When it comes right down to it, isn’t your dog worth it?
Make sure to keep your current contact information updated with the chip database of your dog’s chip manufacturer. There are several chip-makers and last I knew they all had their own databases. To date I do not know of a single database the holds all the data from each chip-maker. A micro-chip in your dog won’t do it much good if you can’t be found from the information they have available to them.
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