What You Need To Know About Microchipping

Around five years ago I had one of the scariest days of my life. Our dog, Trixie, was out playing in the backyard when she dug a hole under the fence and escaped. Before then, she had never tried to dig herself out so we never kept a close eye on her at home. For three hours we drove around the neighborhood calling her name, knocking on neighbors' doors and calling the animal shelter to see if anyone had called in.

Luckily, just before the sun went down we got a call from an elderly couple a mile away. They found Trixie while they were walking their Black Lab down the street. They called our house phone on the number that was on Trixie's ID tag on her Collar.

If I hadn't been so lucky with someone responsible finding Trixie and giving my house a call, I would have been devastated. Yet, I feel that her chances of her being recovered were considerable since I took the time to get her microchipped after I adopted her.

What Is Microchipping?
Microchipping is a small circuit that is placed under an animal's skin. The chip is rarely larger than a gain of rice and cannot be felt by the animal after it is installed. Most chips that are used by vets and shelters use an original string of numbers and information to identify each pet. Often, when a chip is implanted the shelter will take down your name, number and address in the event that your dog or cat gets loose. Microchips are also a good way to prove ownership in the event that your pet is ever stolen.

Getting a Chip
It is common for most humane societies to include microchipping when you are adopting a pet. If you're not sure if your companion has a microchip, stop by a vet, and they'll be able to quickly scan your pooch or cat to see if they have a chip implanted.

Does it Hurt? Your furry friend will notice a pinch when the chip is implanted, but most vets have compared it to the feeling of getting blood drawn. The entire process takes only a few moments to complete.

Is It Expensive? It is not uncommon for humane societies to run special deals on microchipping. If you're in a hurry, most vets can do the procedure for less than $70.

What Are the Risks Involved? Having a microchip installed is a very common procedure and nearly every vet will be able to do the implant without any problems. However, any time there is some kind of medical procedure, there is some inherent risk. Some animals' bodies reject the microchip and there can be irritation around the skin. Also, a very small percentage of animals develop tumors near the chip, too. However, these risks are very small and most professionals agree that it is best to have all animals chipped.

What To Do If You Lose Your Pet
Aside from blaming the family member that left the front door open, there are lots of things a pet owner needs to do right away when their critter scurries off. First of all, don't panic, it may seem like it's the end of the world, but by thinking clearly you will make better decisions in finding your pet.

Call all humane societies, pounds and animal shelters to let them know your animal has escaped and give them a description of your pet. If you have your pet microchipped, you should still give the vet a call. After that, you and a posse should scour the neighborhood in search of your pet. Call all your neighbors too if you can't find it.

If you have a dog or cat that likes to escape, take the necessary precautions by investing in microchipping. If you don't like the idea of chips, you should at the very least have a sturdy collar with an ID tag on your animal.

By Sean Bowes
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