Microchip Implants for Pets and the Myths Surrounding them
While there are some minor risks involved with having a microchip implanted in your dog, many of the downsides you’ll find online regarding problems with these chips are baseless, fabricated, exaggerated, or downright wrong. In this article, we will discuss some of the more prevalent lies and misunderstandings about microchipping your dog. Note: We are pro-microchip and this article reflects that position – so, if you’re wondering should you microchip your dog or not, we highly recommend having the procedure done.
Let’s start by taking a look at those myths surrounding dog microchips.
MYTH: Collar tags work as well as microchips in helping return a lost dog.
Although your dog’s collar tags can play a major role in returning your lost pup when she’s found nearby your home and the tags are completely up to date and readable. However, tags are prone to wearing out and damage, which can leave them nearly impossible for a good samaritan to read. Likewise, tags can fall off the collar altogether, rendering them useless in that situation.
One of the more telling statistics regarding microchips being placed in pets is the returned-home percentage disparity between microchipped and non-microchipped dogs. In a FAQ covering microchips put together by the American Veterinary Medical Association, they discuss a study that researched this exact topic. After monitoring over 7,000 strays that ended up in animal shelters, the results are crystal clear. They found that, “dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time.”
MYTH: Microchipping your dog will cost too much.
People often assume that microchipping their dog is going to cost hundreds of dollars and, therefore, makes it a cost-prohibitive procedure. On the contrary, getting a microchip placed in your dog will normally cost somewhere between $25 and $50. And, still, if that is just too much money for you at this time, be patient but diligent in looking up advertisements, flyers, and social media posts of local veterinarians that offer microchips. Occasionally they will offer promotional pricing for microchipping your dog, which can lead to rock-bottom prices around $10 (and sometimes even lower!) as well as bundle deals that include things like check ups, shots, and other important vet services.
MYTH: Your microchipped dog’s physical location can be tracked online similar to GPS.
This is one of those misconceptions that some of us wish was true because of how helpful this kind of feature could be. Sadly, we can’t actually track our dogs GPS style when they get a microchip implanted. Instead of global positioning system (GPS) tracking technology, the microchips put in our pets use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which is a particularly effective (and neat) kind of technology. RFID chips are especially good for implanting in dogs as they do have to include an implanted power source. Instead, RFID chips actually receive all the electricity they need from the scanner when the chip is being scanned.
MYTH: Microchips are harmful to pets and implanting them is both painful and difficult.
Nope – couldn’t be further from the truth. The dog microchip implant procedure is no more difficult or painful than receiving a vaccine. That is because the chips are inserted under the skin through a needle. We will admit, however, that (like a vaccine) the implant site might be a little sore during the day the implant was received. Still (and unlike “boosting” for vaccines), these microchips will never need to be replaced. Additionally, the microchips being implanted in our pets are constructed from biocompatible material, which means it is not harmful to living tissue.
MYTH: Microchips can “float” or move around the body and wreak havoc on the dog’s body.
While it is true that early microchips could shift away from between the shoulder blades and find its way to all sorts of parts of the dog’s body. The thing is, though, that these migrating chips are not known to cause any kind of health issues or injury, which is most likely due to the chips’ biocompatible nature.
Furthermore, if you are planning on getting a chip implanted in your dog, new chips are constructed with anti-migration measures. That being said, if you get your dog a chip now you can expect it to remain in between your dog’s shoulder blades for the rest of her life.
MYTH: Getting a chip implanted in an indoor pet is a waste of money.
It’s not uncommon to see dogs and cats who spend most -if not all- of their time inside occasionally try to make a break for it when the door is left open. You might be super careful and diligent about keeping your doors closed, but guests and service people won’t be. If your indoor cat or dog gets caught up in the moment, rushes out of your home, and disappears from your sight, you are going to wish you’d had a chip implanted in the pet when you had the chance.