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Dr. Ken Tudor
Holistic Veterinarian

Microchip for dog. Veterinarian checking the microchip information, do they really help find lost dogs?

Do Microchips Help Find Dogs?

February 8, 2016

You have all probably heard stories of pets reunited with their original owners after years of separation because of microchips. But how many lost pets have microchips and are not reunited with their original owners? These stories do not make the headlines and they may outnumber the happy endings. Why?

1)  Not all animal shelters, pounds or rescue organizations have microchip readers that identify all brands of microchips (there is no universal microchip but many offered by different companies).
2)  Many dog owners fail to annually renew their original microchip membership so there may not be reliable contact information for a found pet with a microchip.
3) The microchip has migrated under the skin to the front leg or the bottom of the chest and was not scanned (animal shelters, veterinary hospitals and rescue groups typically only scan between the shoulders and down the back). Migrated microchips are more common than we once thought.

Microchips are not like the “lo-jacks” that can pinpoint the location of your stolen car. Lost pets must first be found by individuals or the pound and then scanned. Presently the only GPS locators for pets are in collars. Although this is superior to microchips, GPS collars can be removed or pets can escape them so they are somewhat unreliable. Until we have GPS devices that can be placed under the skin many lost pets cannot be immediately located.

Should you microchip your pet?

What is your comfort level with the present alternatives? Microchips are certainly better than nothing until we develop more sophisticated injectable technology. My preference is the GPS collar with cell phone apps that alert owners that their dog is no longer in a specified area. This Consumer Reports evaluation of 3 GPS products may help if you are not sure you want to microchip your dog.

Author
Ken Tudor DVM
Dr. Ken Tudor, Holistic Veterinarian

Dr. Ken Tudor is a recognized expert and leader in the field of pet nutrition and fitness. He has developed a pet weight management program and served on the American Animal Hospital Association task force to develop their Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. He is also a frequent guest on the Pet World Insider radio show and a popular guest on the televised Pet Ex Talks-Pet Experts Empowering Pet Parents show.

Do Microchips Help Find Dogs?

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