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How Pet Microchips Work

May 18, 2008
One of the best ways to protect your dog and make sure that it is safely returned to you if it is lost is to have a microchip inserted under it's skin. There have been stories about tearful reunions of families and their pets as a result of these microchips being put in place.

The technology seems almost too good to be true. As a matter of fact, in some cases it is too good to be true and you need to make sure that you make the proper decisions so that your dog is truly safe by going through this procedure.

The reason why this is the case is because many of the microchip companies are now using competing technology. Although technology is typically a good thing, this can keep animal shelters from being able to identify the fact that your pet has a microchip at all. Here is why that is the case.

Whenever an animal shelter picks up a pet they will run the scanner around the dog to see if there is a microchip inserted underneath the skin. If the microchip is there, it will send back a signal with a unique code that will identify the pet. All that is really necessary for them to do at that point is to contact the microchip company and alert them to the fact that they have this animal in their possession. The microchip company will then contact the owner and reunite them with their pet.

Unfortunately, since 2003 many of the microchip companies have not kept up their end of the bargain and distributed scanners to the various animal shelters. If the scanner and the microchip are incompatible, the animal shelter will not be able to identify the fact that the pet even has one in the first place.

There is something that you can do, however, to make sure that your pet is safe in this particular circumstance. Whenever you have a microchip put in your pet, call the microchip company and insist that they send a scanner to your local animal shelter.

The two most popular pet microchip manufacturers are Avid and Home Again. For a small fee, you can have your veterinarian place one of these microchips in your pet; in most cases, your pet feels no after-effects of the procedure. And since microchips are biocompatible, they adapt well to your animal's body and rarely need addtional care. Microchips don't require any battery or power supply and most manufacturers guarantee it for the life of your pet.

If you adopted your animal from your local animal shelter, it's very likely he or she already has a microchip in place.

You should also make sure that your pet is always wearing identification tags as these will go a long way in helping to reunite you and your pet again. Since most people don't have handy access to microchip scanners or may be unaware such a thing exists, a collar and tag is still one of the best ways to locate a lost pet.

Although microchip technology is flawed because of competition, they are definitely a good resource for pet safety. Take the proper steps to marking your pet for identification and you'll increase your odds of having your pet for its lifetime dramatically.
About the Author
Learn more about pet microchips and pet tracking devices at http://www.id-a-pet.com.
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