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With all the technology in your daily life, you may be wondering if it’s a good idea to microchip your dog.

Just look!

Dogs can and do escape; a glance at the ‘lost pets’ section in your local newspaper is proof of that. Microchipping your dog is a way to keep track of your beloved pet should the unthinkable happen.

I remember a time shortly after we moved. Our middle-aged black lab mix, Rocky, went missing. He was mostly blind, and we were heart-broken.

Want to know the best part?

About a month later, I found him at a neighbor’s house!

What Exactly is a Dog Microchip Implant?

A typical pet microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. It’s injected under the skin, and contains data stored in the chip, which can be read by anyone with a scanner, such as vet’s offices and animal shelters.

What’s the Difference Between a Dog Microchip and a GPS Collar?

You might be debating between chipping or using a GPS collar. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. You might be wondering:

  • Microchip Advantages
    • This is a passive tracking device; it stores owner information like a dog tag.
    • The chip is injected and will always be under the skin.
    • Does not require a power source; no batteries to change.
  • Microchip Disadvantages
    • Requires a scanner to access stored data.
    • Only works if the pet is found and taken to someone with a scanner.
  • GPS Collar Advantages
    • Worn on the dog’s collar with its own battery source.
    • It’s an active device in real time.
    • Can give exact coordinates of the pet.
  • GPS Collar Disadvantages
    • Batteries can run down.
    • The collar can be removed or lost.

Either method may help to recover a lost pet. But, for added security, you might decide to use a combination of both methods. The GPS allows you to see exactly where your dog is, and in the event your dog loses the collar, your owner information is still available via the microchip.

Why Should My Dog Get a Microchip?

Pet Finder says the Humane Society estimates over 10 million pets are reported missing each year.

That’s crazy!

That’s 1 in 3 pets lost during their life! I have 5 pets now, and those numbers aren’t good! You want to spend a lifetime with your pet, and chipping can be a good way to recover him if he is lost or stolen.

Are There Any Side Effects to Microchipping My Dog?

The chip is injected under the skin by your vet like a vaccination. Because the syringe breaks the skin, there’s a small chance of redness, swelling, or bleeding at the injection site. Having a qualified vet do the procedure reduces the risk of any side effects.

Is the Microchipping Procedure Painful?

The chip is injected between your pet’s shoulder blades. The needle is not much larger than that of a vaccination, and shouldn’t cause your dog any more discomfort than his yearly shots.

Okay! Let’s Go for It! What’s Next?

Great! You’ve decided to microchip your dog. The next step is to either find one online like the Home Again Microchip Implant Kit or go to your veterinarian.

Once your vet has implanted the chip, make sure to register your information with the microchip company. Sadly, only 58% of microchips are registered. This is not good! The 10 minutes registering your microchip will cost you is one of the smartest investment you can make.

This is extremely important! If you don’t register the chip, your name and address will not be available on it. I once adopted a dog who had been microchipped; her original owners never registered her. There was a small fee to register the chip, and then her microchip contained accurate information. We never needed the chip, thank goodness, but it was peace of mind knowing it was there.

We also highly encourage you to have your vet check your pet’s chip at his yearly checkup. If your address or phone number changes, make sure to update that information with the chip’s manufacturer. The vet cannot do this; you must take the responsible step to ensure correct information is encoded.

Have any questions we didn’t address? Feel free to ask them below.