Why Should You Microchip Your Dog?
May marks National Chip Your Pet month, and no that doesn’t mean it’s national dress your pet up like your favorite chip month or make your pet into a chip meme month. While those are both cute ways to celebrate the word chip with your pup, this month’s purpose is to raise awareness for the importance of microchipping your furry friend for safety!
Although an increasingly common procedure used by owners to help make sure their dog can always return home, not everyone microchips their pets. At Wags and Walks, we make all our dogs are microchipped before they go to their forever home. To help raise awareness for the importance of microchipping your pet, we thought we’d give a rundown on what it means to “microchip” your dog!
What is a microchip?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, you may be wondering what a “microchip” even is. In this case, a microchip is a tiny cylinder, about the size of a grain of rice, that is inserted just under your pet’s skin - normally between the shoulder blades behind the neck. It takes just a few seconds to insert the chip, and inside of the chip is an antenna that registers an identification code when scanned.
While the dog may feel uncomfortable in the moment that the vet is placing the chip under his/her skin, the chip is too small to feel after it is placed! The process doesn’t hurt any more than a routine vaccination, and it is a one-time procedure. After the chip is placed, you can then link your contact information to the chip online or through a form that your vet or shelter provides you.
From the moment your pup has been microchipped, he/she will always be able to find home as long as he/she is brought to a veterinarian, animal shelter, or any organization with a microchip scanner. It’s as easy as that!
Isn’t the purpose of a microchip the same as getting a doggy tag?
Yes, a microchip and a dog tag are both meant to help you keep your dog safe, and a doggy tag placed on your dog’s collar or harness is a great and important form of immediate identification. If your dog is ever found by someone who doesn’t have a scanner on hand, that person can quickly contact you using the info on the tag, but it is more common for lost dogs to be found without collars on.
People often take their dog’s collar off when the dog isn’t on a leash, or the owner will keep the collar loose on the dog’s neck for comfort, which can lead to it falling off or the dog slipping out of it. If your dog becomes lost without his/her collar and isn’t microchipped, it becomes much harder to bring your pup home!
Can only certain dogs be microchipped?
The quick answer is no, dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes can be microchipped. If you rescued a dog who does not have a microchip and you aren’t sure if your dog is eligible, just ask your vet! The vet will be able to find out if there is any medical condition that prohibits you from microchipping your pet, but in most instances, any type of dog or aged dog can be microchipped for safety.
Is it more important to microchip some dogs versus others?
Everyone knows the neighborhood dog who can’t be left alone in the backyard, or the high-energy pup who just loves to run out the door after the mailman whenever he/she gets the chance. Then there are the couch potato dogs who are perfectly content lounging all day. Many people only think that ‘high risk’ dogs should be microchipped, but the reality is any dog has the potential of getting lost.
Dogs, like humans, get spooked by different things and revert to their “animal instincts.” For a dog, that could mean getting scared on a walk and trying to get free from his/her collar. This is something we see with newly rescued dogs who are nervous or anxious in certain social situations.That doesn’t mean that it could not happen with a little puppy or with a beloved pet of over 15 years! Microchipping your dog helps you ensure his/her safety at all times.
What people don’t realize is that many dogs that turn up in animal shelters were actually beloved family pets who got loose or ran away without any identification. Microchips help shelters return dogs to their homes or learn more information about the dog if the owner does not want to take the dog back. By microchipping the dogs we rescue, we are helping reduce the number of dogs that end up in shelters.
Happy National Chip Your Pet Month! If you want to learn more about the services Wags and Walks provides the dogs we rescue, check out our FAQ page! And, to stay updated on what’s new at Wags and Walks, please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?