Should I get my dog microchipped?

Microchipping your dog can increase the chances that they are found if they get lost. Our Simi Valley vets discuss the benefits of getting a microchip for your dog.

What is a pet microchip?

Vets and animal shelters can use microchips - tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips - to locate pet owners if their animal has been found. Microchips are typically placed under the skin and are about the size of a grain of rice. 

What can I expect from the microchipping procedure?

Your dog will be positioned for the microchip injection before your vet places a needle that's been preloaded with the microchip into the application syringe or gun into their body. 

The microchip is often implanted in the subcutaneous tissue between the shoulder blades of the dog's spine. For the most exact positioning, your dog should be resting on his stomach or standing up. Before immediately inserting the needle and injecting the microchip, your veterinarian will gently pull up some of the loose skin. The vet will inject the microchip into the tissue by squeezing the applicator trigger.

Having a microchip implanted in your dog will not require surgery. The chip will be placed just under the skin using a needle and involve little discomfort. In fact, most dogs hardly react to having a microchip implanted. 

Once your dog has been microchipped, you'll register the chips serial number and your dog's information with the company that produced the chip. If your dog is found, the serial number of the microchip can be matched with your dog's information to help trace you as the pet owner. 

Why not just get a collar and tag for my dog?

When it comes to returning lost dogs to their owners, collars and tags are useful tools. People can simply read the tag, and call the phone number listed on it to contact the owner.

Your dog should always have collars and identification tags in case they get into trouble. Be sure to include your name and contact number on your dog's tag. 

As good as it is to equip your dog with a collar and identification tag, tags can fall off and get lost, leaving your dog with no identifying information. Microchips are a permanent way to provide your dog with a means of identification.

Note that it is important to keep your microchip registration information up to date. Be sure to contact the microchip company to update your information if you move or change your contact number. 

Microchips should not replace license tags and collars because they are not externally visible as an indication that your dog belongs to a family. Instead, having your dog microchipped and wearing a collar and tag will provide you the best chance of reuniting with your dog if they become separated from you.

How do microchips for dogs work?

If your dog is discovered, the doctor or rescue organization will read the microchip using a special scanner. Microchip scanners are ubiquitous in that they can read any modern chip, independent of brand. When the scanner passes over the dog's back and flanks, the microchip transmits its unique identification number to the scanner.

The rescuer will then contact the national database to find out your phone number so that you can be notified that your dog has been found. Should your dog be stolen, microchips can also be very helpful when it comes to proving ownership.

Are there risks to microchipping my dog?

Some pet parents may be concerned about pain, allergic reactions, or internal microchip migration. This technique of identification has been in use for many years and has been successfully implanted into millions of pets. Newer microchips, in particular, have improved, making rejection or allergic reaction extremely unlikely.

Thanks to microchips, dogs can be reunited with their loving families even years after being separated from them. Ask your Simi Valley vets about having your canine friend microchipped as soon as possible.

Is it time to have your dog microchipped? Perhaps you have questions about the procedure? Contact our Simi Valley vets today for a microchip appointment.