Dogs and puppies get lost for a variety of reasons, and in times past, it has always been a wait-and-see what happens scenario. Certainly, having the correct information on a collar or a tag always helps, but collars and tags can get pulled off, hung up on brush or tree branches, break, or any number of things. There is no guarantee that a dog with a collar, and the information supplied on dog tags, will make its way back to its owner regardless of anything else.
That has always been the issue between dog owner, dog, and even the municipality where the dog resides. Dog tags are only as good as the dog collar, and a dog collar only works if a dog is wearing it.
In modern times, computers have been just like the invention of the wheel. Virtually everything we do, from buying groceries to using cell phones, is all made possible by computers. While many people might not like them or consider them an intrusion into our daily lives, the fact is that computers are here to stay and that they can make our lives better on many different levels.
Enter the microchip. These little chips can be encoded with all types of essential data and read by a scanner, which is basically a type of computer. It’s just like reading a book, as the information can be scanned and looked at on a miniature video screen.
For the purpose of dog identification, a chip is encoded with a number, and when scanned, the number is displayed. That set of digits, which is only specific to your dog, is registered on a computer database with all of the pertinent information included. Such things as name of owner, phone number, address, dog name and more, are all cross referenced with your pets specific microchip number.
A Grain of Rice
Modern microchips are about the size of a grain of rice, and they are implanted beneath the skin between the shoulder blades. Once encoded with a number, the chip is set into place using a syringe-type of device, and there is little or no pain involved. That’s really all there is to it, and no matter what happens to your pooch, where it goes or where it ends up, a veterinarian or animal shelter worker can scan the shoulder blade area, get the encoded number, and find out everything they need to know.
Microchips are impervious to moisture, they can never fall off, they don’t break, and they are extremely reliable. There is no better identification method for your dog than a microchip. The proof is that during a study on whether or not microchipping made a difference in reuniting pets with their owners, close to 3 times as many dogs with microchips made it back home than those that didn’t have them.
Check the Law
Depending on where you live, certain municipalities may be requiring dogs to get microchipped. Your vet will know for sure, but if microchipping has become mandatory in your area, you’ll need to get it done or face a fine.
Keep the Information Updated
A microchip is only as good as the information in the database. If you move, change phone numbers or sell the dog, the information must be changed. Shots, health problems and medicine required should also be kept up to date as well. If your dog is lost and does not have a collar with identifying information, the microchip will be the only source left with the information needed. If the info has not been kept up to date, there is a chance that you may never see your 4 legged friend again.
Responsible Ownership Starts with You
The most responsible way to keep track of your pet is by having a collar with name and vaccination tags, and also getting your buddy “chipped.” A collar with tags is the fastest and easiest way to getting a stray dog back because everyone can read it. But if the collar falls off or gets snagged and torn off, the only recourse is the microchip. And that little chip may mean the difference between getting your beloved pal back home with you, or never seeing them again.
About the Author
Mary Nielsen is a passionate dog lover, blogger, and part-time music teacher. She started MySweetPuppy.net to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable mutts. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.