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To Chip Or Not To Chip (That Is The Question)

Dec 11, 2007
If you've ever experienced the pain and guilt, even momentarily, of a pet being lost, then you've probably considered becoming a "chipper"-a "Microchipper", that is. For the purpose of our definition, and since we made up the term, "Microchippers" are pet owners who deem that collars are too easy to lose, while tattoos are too hard to read. Therefore, they opt for microchip implants as a tool to identify their pets. The cost and convenience of the pet microchip is measured by time, frustration, and gladness in finding your lost pet.

Most pet owners are proponents of natural products and care. As unnatural as it may sound, many are leaning towards the "Microchippers" on this one. To join in on the discussion, you must first be well-equipped, so here are the basics:

What are Dog microchips?

In this case, the microchip is a little transponder, about the size of a grain of uncooked rice, that is implanted under the dog's skin. The chip identification number is read by a scanner or wand that picks up low-frequency radio waves in the chip.

What about regulations and policy? Are they approved?

The most commonly used microchips in dogs are FDA approved. Also, the USDA accepts microchips from licensed breeders and brokers.

Who makes them?

The chips most commonly used in the United States are the HomeAgain™ and AVID® brands.

How much do they cost?

The cost of a pet microchip can vary from around $25.00-$50.00. The cost can vary from brand to brand, but a veterinarian's price to implant is typically higher than a shelter's.

Do they work, and are they safe?

Well with almost anything, it depends on who you ask. A company that sells microchips may convince you that there are no downsides. There have been some reports of the microchips not working because implanted dogs were never found. However, those cases are often inconclusive, because like with anything else, if the protocol is not followed then the product will not work.

There have been more recent studies that have shown that microchips have caused cancer in lab mice. But it doesn't take a toxicologist to highlight the differences between a mouse and a dog. The animals are of a different breed and mice are considerably smaller than the average dog. Other cases of harmful side affects are being further studied.

Pet owners must: do their research; realize that nothing is fool-proof; keep abreast of new studies on the issue; and consider the options when choosing a pet identifying method. As it stands, we're "Microchippers" at heart, because it's been around for decades, has continuously been tested; and thus far is concluded to be more helpful than harmful. We're not saying we bow down to the chip, because we will "keep our eyes open" for changing trends. But for now, regardless of how Matrix-like it seems, a device that brings millions of lost dogs back to their owners safely, fares pretty well with us.
About the Author
We treat our dogs with Dog Treats and Bully Sticks
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