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Microchip For Dogs - How Does It Work?

Microchip for dogsIf your dog ever gets lost or stolen, a microchip for dogs is your best chance at getting your dog back.  As with anything different and unseen, there are a lot of questions and misunderstandings over what microchips are, what they do and how they work.  Here are your microchip questions answered.

What are they?

Microchips are really tiny chips, like the kind that store data on your computer, that are injected under your dog’s skin.  The microchips are very small, are coated with a substance that protects it from your dog’s body and your dog’s body from it.

What do they do?

Microchips are basically permanent ID tags.  It goes under the skin between the shoulder blades, where it stays for the dog’s life unless surgically removed.  It contains a unique ID number that is connected to your contact information in a database.  Think of it as an indestructible sticky note that helps your dog get back home.

How does it help my dog get back home?

There are a few steps between finding a lost dog and calling its worried owner.  Here’s how it works:

Step 1:  Find the microchip ID number.  The maker of the microchip creates a unique ID number for every chip.  When a dog is found, shelters and veterinary clinics use hand-held scanners that search for a microchip and read its ID code, like a scanner at the grocery store reads the bar code on potato chips.  The scanner will tell the shelter the dog’s unique microchip ID.  

Step 2:  Look up the ID in the microchip database.  The database includes the name of the veterinary office or shelter where the microchip was given, contact information for that office, the owner’s name and owner’s contact information.  

Step 3:  Call the owner and tell them their dog has been found.  Jake the Weimaraner was reunited with his family in just this way – after 7 years apart a dog microchip helped his family find their lost dog.  If not for the microchip, he would never have gotten home.  
Now that you know how dog microchips work, stay tuned for part 2 where we answer other common questions about getting a dog microchip.  


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Photo by BinaryApe on Flickr and used with Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

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