What does it mean to have my dog microchipped?

Microchipping is basically a permanent form of identification. You have your collar, you have your tags, but those can slip off, get worn, or they may not even have your updated information on them. And so with a microchip, it's something that we will implant right between the shoulder blades and under the skin. And it's a little metal chip that stays in them for their entire life.

Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

Can microchips be used to track my dog?

So not quite. There are GPS trackers that can go on their collars, and some of them can actually hook up to your smartphones and those are pretty handy. But the microchips themselves don't have any GPS capabilities.

How is a microchip used to identify my dog?

Each microchip has a unique number, so whenever we insert microchips (we use HomeAgain), these are something that each has an individual number and it's several digits. And so that number is unique to your dog. These chips in particular are universal and will correspond to your dog. And once we register these chips for you, they will have your address, phone number, email, and even additional contact information for another person. So that when someone finds your dog, you can have that scanned, and that number will trace right back to you. And that contact information is also something that you can update if you were to move or get a new phone number as well.

Who can scan my dog's microchip information?

Not just anybody. Keep in mind that your dog will need to be taken to either a shelter or a vet's office or someone that has a scanner. We have our scanner here, and this is also a universal scanner, so this is what we use to scan the dog. And my assistant here today is Rumi, and he has a chip in him. So let me see if I can get our machine to cooperate here. But they will be able to have it scanned, and it pops up his number right there. So that's something that will trace right back to be able to allow us to know what his name is and who his owners are.

What does the microchip recovery process look like in the event my dog is lost?

As far as that goes, you do want to notify your local veterinarians and shelters, and let them know that, hey, your dog is missing and they're microchipped. And another thing you always want to make sure of is that your information is up-to-date for your microchip. If it's not, then it's hard to get in contact with you. Another thing is if your microchip is not registered, like if you were to have gotten your dog from a shelter, sometimes those aren't registered, or sometimes they don't have the new information. So you want to ensure that that is registered so that you can be contacted and it's not just the shelter's information. Once your dog is scanned, we will enter that number into the system. And there is a universal lookup for those microchip numbers. We will enter that in, and it will pop up a name and number. Or we can even contact the microchip company, and they'll get a name and number, and we'll work to get in contact with you.

Why do veterinarians recommend that you get your dog microchipped?

This goes back to being a permanent form of identification. It's so easy for these guys to slip their collars. Or, unfortunately, if some people have some heinous intentions, they will take the collar off. And so it is something that not only is it a permanent form of ID, but it's also a legal form of ID. So if your dog is chipped, then there's no denying that it is your dog.

What if I lose or forget my dog's microchip information?

It's pretty easy to access again, depending upon the company. We use HomeAgain, so we can call HomeAgain and let them know the owner's name. And you can tell them your dog's name and information, and they can get that number for you. Or you can even go on there, and they do have these handy-dandy little tags, although Rumi here has chewed his. But they have little HomeAgain tags, so they can get that to you and have his number. Or you can even bring them to your local shelter or veterinarian, and we can scan them for you and write that number down.

Are there any other smart products that you know of that can connect to my dog's microchip?

There are several. Some of them are associated with Apple. Others are just generic. But they can go right onto their collar. But other than that, as far as an actual microchip that's GPS-related, that's not really a thing at this point.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 544-2545, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Microchipping - FAQs

Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

How do I know who gets the information from my dog's microchip?

Overall, they're pretty secure. Even though your dog has a microchip, it does not have a direct association with your contact information. So it is just going to be a number. And then once you get that long number, you have to contact the microchip company in order to get more information. It's not going to be readily available to someone. They're going to have to put in a little bit of effort to find that. You want to ensure that information is up to date, but the microchip company will be the only ones that have access to that. And then they have to have someone prove to them that they found your dog or anything in order to share that information or the microchip company themselves will try to contact you.

Can anyone with a scanner access my contact information from my dog's microchip?

So no, not quite, as you do have to have a universal microchip scanner. Again, it's a number that they're scanning. They're not going to be able to access your contact info just from that.

What information is provided with a dog microchip?

The only information that you're going to get is a number. When we take our scanner here and scan a dog, the scanner will only reflect the number of the microchip itself. So it's a few-digit number, so it's not a phone number or anything, but that is associated with Jess Remy here. That's his personal number.

What is the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup tool and how does it work?

It's a tool that we can use that we basically can go onto AAHA's website and enter in that microchip number. There are a lot of different microchip companies out there. HomeAgain is just one of them. And so by being able to enter that in, we can identify what company that it originates from because every number is different as far as usually the first three digits. So it'll allow whoever's looking at that number to know what company to contact, to better get in touch with you.

Is my personal information available with a dog microchip?

Only if the company will be contacted. So you are nice and secure knowing that your dog just has their own personal number and that your contact info is only with that microchip company.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 544-2545, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Microchipping - FAQs 2

Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

How can microchipping help my dog return to me?

The microchip is going to be an identification source for them. Although you have your collars and tags, the microchip is a permanent ID so no one can remove it, they can't slip out of it. The dog does have to be taken to a shelter or to a vet's office or to someone that does have access to one of those microchip scanners. But as soon as that microchip is scanned, that number will pop up, and then whoever has scanned that is able to get in contact with the microchip company and indirectly get back to you as far as getting your contact info.

Will a microchip tell me my dog's location?

It won't—there's not a GPS microchip at this point. It will just give the number to whoever scans it. They make GPS tags that can go on your dog's callar and they can do a bit more as far as tracking them, but not just yet with those microchips.

Do all shelters scan for microchips?

They should. Obviously we don't know what all their policies are, but generally the first thing that we do with a found animal is to automatically scan them for a microchip, and a lot of the shelters in the local area have that as their policy. That's because the microchip will not only help them know if the dog has an owner, but it will hopefully also help reunite you with your dog.

Does a microchip ensure that my dog will be found?

It doesn't ensure it. As with anything else, it depends on the honesty of the finder. Unfortunately, if the finder decides that they want to keep your dog, that will deter things. But if you have an honest person who wants to help reunite the dog, then if they bring them into a shelter or a vet clinic, it can be easily scanned, which greatly increases your dog's chances of going home.

If a dog is lost and they have slipped their collar and they have no other form of ID, you're relying upon social media or posters around the area to try and help get the word out there that your dog is missing. The majority of the dogs that are microchipped return home simply because of that form of ID. There are some other perks to microchipping, as people can send out the lost and found flyers, and they'll also send out emails to local veterinarians and even local people in the area so they can be on the watch for your dog.

If my dog already has collars and tags, why do they need a microchip?

It's simple to remove the dog's collar and tags and suddenly they're an unknown dog that no one has any idea who he is anymore. But with the microchip, we can easily bring the dog in, and we know that just by being able to scan this chip that is permanently right between his shoulder blades, they have a permanent form of ID. So no matter if the dog slips their collar and tags or someone takes it off them, or if the tag info is out of date, we do know that that form of ID is always in him.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 544-2545, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Microchipping - FAQs 3

Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

How is the microchip implanted in the dog?

So the microchip is pretty similar to what we would do for a vaccine or any other injection. It's a syringe that is fairly decent sized. We try to get as small of a needle as we can for your dog so it is more comfortable. But it does have to be big enough for that chip to fit through. So we will bring your dog in and the injection is going to go just right here between the shoulder blades, just under the skin. So we'll clean this area and then we'll pick that up and we'll stick the needle directly in here just under the skin and then insert the chip there.

How do I get my dog microchipped?

So your dog can be microchipped by most veterinarians and even some shelters and rescues offer the chipping as well. So give them a call and say you want to schedule to get that microchip placed.

Is implanting a microchip painful for my dog?

Just as with any other needle it doesn't feel the best, but most of our dogs tolerate it very well. We have come to find that the needle is very sharp and with a sharper needle there won't be nearly as much trauma to the skin. And most dogs tolerate it, especially if we add in a little bit of peanut butter or marshmallows.

Are there any risks or side effects associated with the dog microchipping process?

Well, we've poked your dog, so perhaps they're a little bit traumatized from that. But as I said, most of them tolerate it very well. The biggest risk is to have a microchip move from the normal location. It's not a frequent occurrence but possible. And so we always want to ensure that we are scanning the entire dog. Another risk that we can have is that that microchip does actually migrate into places that it shouldn't be. It's very rare, but we may see the chip migrate into the spinal cord itself. And so it has been shown to cause some problems there. And then obviously if your dog were to need to have any procedures or anything done in that area and the microchip could possibly inadvertently be removed or we could even see the actual chip cause a reaction. But again, those are all very rare side effects.

Is there a recovery period after my dog is microchipped?

Not quite. It's something that your dog is fully awake for, and so as far as the pain with it, it's just the initial injection. They may be a little bit uncomfortable as their skin heals from it, but otherwise it's a very quick recovery period.

Will my dog's microchip ever stop working?

Just like with everything technology wise, it can fail. Although very rare, we have had to put another chip in or replace that microchip itself. Most of the time they will continue working throughout your dog's life.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 544-2545, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.