RESPONSIBLE pet owners are using microchip to ensure that their pets, if ever lost and turned into the pound, will be returned as quickly as possible. In many areas in Spain it is also now a legal requirement.
Responsible breeders are also increasing use of these tools to ensure the puppies they sell will be identified and appropriate action taken if they ever get lost or turned over to a shelter or pound.
The microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted between the shoulder blades with a syringe like instrument. It contains no batteries or chemicals and has an active life of about 25 years.
The age at which this can be done varies with the size and development of the dog, as a certain amount of muscle tissue is necessary. With larger breeds, it can be done by seven to nine weeks of age, when most puppies go to their new homes. Most vets now have the capacity to insert microchips.
When scanned, the microchip will reveal a code that is unique to the dog. By consulting the appropriate chip registry database, relevant information – including dog’s owner, breeder, emergency contact, even health problems and food requirements – can be obtained.
Implanting the chip and registering information is included in the cost and dog clubs often offer group discounts.
Advantanges of microchipping dog include that they can’t get lost or stolen (like a collar), it can’t be worn off or removed (like a tattoo) and it quickly leads to information about the dog and this information can be readily changed.
The disadvantages of microchips are that they can’t be detected or read without a scanner and unfortunately many animal shelters and societies still don’t have one.