Let’s be clear: microchipping is not a form of visual identification for pets. That’s because a microchip can’t be seen with your eyes! That’s what ID collar tags are for.
A microchip allows your pet to be linked back to you if he or she is ever lost and found, and taken to a vet or other location where the animal can be scanned for a microchip.
But a microchip won’t let you track your dog or cat. That’s a whole different field, and one that involves using a device like a GPS tracker for dogs.
However, microchipping is really important. Along with spaying and neutering, implanting a tiny microchip is the first thing that’s done for any rescue animal and the first thing that a vet will recommend you do when you take in a new pet for his or her first health check.
Without a microchip, your lost dog, cat or other pet has a significantly less chance of being reunited with you if they ever become lost.
Keeping your details up to date is also vital: if you move house or change phone numbers, always have this updated on your pet’s microchip details.
Every country has their own microchipping system for pets. In the USA there is the Pet Chip Registry.
Registering your dog’s microchip in Pet Chip Registry database makes it easy for a vet to find your details in the National Pet Microchip Registration Database. So if your dog is lost then handed into a vet clinic, a quick scan of the microchip brings up your contact details. This is why it’s so vital that you update your address, phone number and any other changes during the course of your dog’s life!
To update your contact details at the Pet Chip Registry all you have to do is use their Microchip Look Up link, then input your dog’s chip number and proceed to change your contact information. This is where you can also submit a report of your dog being lost if need be.
Is Microchipping Mandatory in the US?
No, there is no law stating that you must microchip your pets in the United States.
It is now mandatory in some other countries though – in 2016, the UK government passed a law making it mandatory for all dog owners to microchip their dogs.
Any dog owner found not to have microchipped and registered their dog will have a period of time to get it done, after which they receive a fine if they still don’t comply with the law. This move makes it significantly more likely that lost dogs in the UK will be reunited with their owners, resulting in less unclaimed dogs being handed over the pounds and potentially put to sleep.
Microchipping is still voluntary in the United States though, but there is no doubt that responsible pet owners see the benefits of this simple, painless, low cost and potentially life saving procedure.
Free dog and cat microchipping is often advertised by city councils as a way to encourage non-microchipped or new dog owners to get their pets chipped at no cost – this is a fantastic initiative that removes the financial cost of microchipping and thus, another barrier is taken down while the number of microchipped animals increases.
What Is The Minimum Age To Get Your Dog Microchipped?
The youngest safe age for implanting a microchip for both dogs and cats is considered to be 4 weeks, although this can be controversial with many opinions that 8 weeks of age is better.
However, a vet will make an individual decision based on the size and weight of the dog. Rarely is it necessary to rush microchipping, and most dogs have it done by the time they are 12 weeks of old and ready for adoption.
In the UK, under new laws mentioned above, all dogs aged 8 weeks and over must be microchipped by law. Additionally, it’s not legal in the UK to sell an unmicrochipped dog.
Dog Microchip Price
What does it cost to have your dog microchipped?
If you’re fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of a free microchipping day in your local area: the cost will be $0. If this isn’t available to you at the time you need to have the microchipping done, you’re unlikely to have to pay any more than $50 at the high end to have your dog microchipped.
Microchipping doesn’t require anesthetic or sedation, so unless your dog is having another procedure done such as neutering or spaying, at which time a microchip will also be implanted, then you can have it done with a regular vet visit – the needle is just slightly larger than a regular needle and the chip is quickly inserted under the skin with the whole procedue over in seconds.
If you’re adopting a dog from a shelter or certified rescue, then the dog must already be microchipped by law in most places – therefore you won’t even have to worry about! You will however have to ensure that your details are kept up to date in your local microchip registry and this can usually be done online.