You’ve seen sad pictures plastered on bulletin boards, stop signs, and telephone polls all over town with tear-off phone numbers fluttering in the breeze. Your local social media sites and apps are always full of lost and found dogs. “How can we as a society improve the chances of reuniting a lost pet with its owner?” you may wonder as you scroll through cute faces with a lost owner.
Losing a puppy is an incredibly distressing experience that can leave any owner feeling heartbroken and anxious. It's a nightmare scenario to be suddenly separated from your beloved puppy in a traumatic manner, such as them bolting away during a walk or slipping through an open gate or door. Furthermore, with the increasing incidences of dog theft on the rise, you may even suspect that your puppy was intentionally stolen.
Instead of dwelling on regret during such unfortunate circumstances of a stolen or lost puppy, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of taking proactive measures to provide proper identification for your puppy.
Waiting until an unfortunate event occurs should not be the trigger for realizing the significance of identification. By taking preventive action by microchipping your puppy, you can significantly increase the chances of a safe and speedy reunion if your puppy ever becomes lost or stolen. Don't wait for a crisis to strike before recognizing the importance of microchipping your puppy which could save their life.
Read on to discover what exactly is a microchip, how they work, common concerns, and what to do if you find a lost dog.
The Importance of Microchipping Your Puppy: Safeguarding Their Future
If a puppy is lost, their collar may become lost as well. While it’s a great idea to have a collar with tags or information presented on the collar itself, a more secure way of identifying your puppy is with a permanent microchip.
What exactly is a microchip?
A microchip is a small device about the size of a grain of rice made of plastic or glass. Inside the capsule is a silicone microchip containing a unique identification number, an antenna coil, and a tuning capacitor (more on these later). When a vet or technician uses a scanner, the identification number is linked to registered users containing contact information for the dog’s owner.
Where does a microchip get placed?
A vet or technician will insert a microchip in between the shoulder blades using a hypodermic needle and syringe. Most microchips are covered with a special biocompatible polymer coating to promote tissue bonding. Once inserted, the microchip’s coating should keep the microchip in place. However, over time, sometimes a microchip can migrate, which is still safe for the puppy.
What information is on a microchip, and how does a scanner access it?
When a lost dog is brought into a veterinarian or animal rescue, a trained individual will be able to use a microchip scanner to look for and interpret data found on a microchip. This information usually includes an identifying serial number, your name, contact information, and address as well as your veterinarian’s information.
A microchip scanner uses a passive radio frequency identification technology (RFID) tag to pick up the information in the microchip. Jane McGrath of How Stuff Works explains the science behind microchipping:
When set to the correct frequency, the scanner "interrogates" the microchip by invigorating the capacitor with electromagnetic power. When energized, the microchip capsule sends radio signals back to the scanner with the identification number. The scanner can then interpret the radio waves and display the identification number on an LCD screen (liquid crystal display screen).
If found, the serial identification number is then checked with microchip registries. Oftentimes, a registry will be associated with the chip’s brand. Animal shelters and veterinarians’ offices may need to check several registries before finding the correct one.
Be sure to fill out the registration with accurate, up-to-date information
One big issue technicians face is when they find the identification information is inaccurate, incomplete, or missing altogether. Make sure to fill out all paperwork when your puppy gets a microchip – don’t procrastinate!
If you happen to change your place of residence, it is essential to update your puppy's microchip information accordingly. By ensuring that the microchip is properly registered and the information is up to date, you are taking important steps to safeguard your puppy's identification and increase the likelihood of a successful reunion in case they ever go missing.
Regardless of whether your puppy has been microchipped prior to snuggling in your loving arms permanently or not, it is crucial to remember to complete the necessary paperwork and register the microchip number.
Microchipping is a Safe, Painless Procedure
Some people may have concerns about the safety of microchipping. We’re pleased to tell you that microchipping your puppy is incredibly safe and harmless to your puppy.
Puppies do not require going under anesthesia for the procedure although puppy owners may elect to have a microchipped placed during a spaying or neutering procedure. Microchipping a puppy feels like a regular vaccine. A tiny bit of discomfort is far more harmless than the pain of losing a pet!
The British Small Animal Veterinary Association conducted a study of 4 million (yes, 4 million!) dogs that have been microchipped since 1996 and found that only 391 dogs experienced mild complications– a very tiny percentage of all the dogs studied (0.009775%)!
Microchipping is not toxic to your puppy, does not emit radiation or electricity, and cannot be ruined by the close proximity of magnets. After the microchip is placed, you will not be able to feel it under the skin in most cases although you may be able to feel it in some toy breeds with thin skin.
How much does microchipping cost?
While prices may vary across the country, expect to pay about $25-65 for the procedure. Registries may require a registration fee as well. Ask your veterinarian about local programs to help reduce the cost of microchipping.
What Do I Do if I Find a Lost Dog?
If you find a lost dog, check your local laws to see what the standard procedure is for where to take the dog if you are able. Getting the dog to the proper authorities can give the pup access to a microchip scanner, and the owner will be able to hopefully be found. Your veterinarian will also know what to do, so you can start by calling the office and act based on their professional recommendations.
Because time is of the essence, people may want to put identifying lost and found dog information on lost and found forums, pages, and social media groups. However, never give a puppy to someone claiming to own it without identifying information, as anyone could unfortunately lie and try to claim the puppy as their own! By scanning the dog for a microchip, you can go through the right channels to return the dog rather than put the burden on you to determine ownership.
Even in our age of technology, there is no app where a non-professional can scan for a microchip. If you encounter a lost dog, you will not be able to scan for a microchip to detect to whom the dog belongs or feel the chip. That’s why it’s important to take the dog to a professional with a microchip scanner (and follow proper protocol for a lost dog in your area).
Microchip a Pawrade Puppy For Sale
When purchasing Pawrade puppies for sale, it's important to note that some of our reputable breeders will have already microchipped the puppies, while others may leave this decision to the new owner. Our Puppy Concierges can answer any questions you have about microchipping your puppy.
Regardless of microchipping status, we encourage all Pawrade puppy owners to work with their licensed veterinarian to get your puppy microchipped and keep accurate registration information on file. We would hate to see anything happen to a lost puppy. By microchipping your Pawrade puppy, you can have peace of mind that you’re giving them the best chance possible to remain your beloved canine companion.