What You Need to Know About Microchipping Your Dog

vet giving microchip to a dog

Most pet parents have wondered about the need to microchip a dog or cat. You might’ve found yourself asking whether they’re necessary, how much microchips cost, and whether they hurt or not.

We’re here to give you a rundown of everything microchip and dog related. Well, much of it anyway.

What is a microchip for a dog?

A microchip is a very small computer chip which is placed under your dog’s skin. It’s normally implanted by your vet by injecting it into the area between your dog’s shoulder blades.

Does it hurt to microchip a dog?

Implanting a microchip is a very quick process and usually only takes a few seconds. The dog doesn’t need to go under anaesthetic, and though they’ll feel a prick or a sting, it won’t hurt any more than a normal vaccination.

That said, many owners opt to microchip their dog during the neuter or spay procedure to eliminate any potential discomfort, and to save the extra vet trip. Depending on the age of your dog, this might be an option for you.

Do you have to microchip a dog?

The short answer is that it depends on where you live. In most states and territories in Australia, it’s compulsory to microchip your dog. However, the exceptions to that rule are the Northern Territory and South Australia.

Each state or territory will have their own rules detailing at what age dogs need to be microchipped, and what information needs to be recorded on the microchip.

What are the benefits of microchipping a dog?

Nobody ever wants to lose a pet, but it happens. Dogs and puppies sneak out of gates, get lost on holiday roadtrips, or run off at the dog park. Sometimes, dogs are even lost during house robberies or car thefts.

If you microchip a dog, you’re increasing the chances of finding them if they get lost. Often, the first thing people will do when they find a lost dog is take it to a vet to check for a microchip.

It also means if your dog ends up at a shelter, it’s easy to prove ownership and you’re likely to get your dog back sooner.

In fact, an American study showed that dogs with microchips were 2.5 times more likely to be returned to their owners than dogs without microchips.

Additionally, a microchip can’t be easily tampered with. If a dog is stolen, it’s easy to remove collars and tags. Microchip information is stored on a database and can only be updated after passing a variety of security checks.

Microchips don’t need to be replaced, so it’s a once-off procedure which means that your dog’s information is safe and accessible for the rest of their lifetime.

close up of a microchip for a dog

Are there drawbacks to microchips?

There are very few drawbacks to microchipping a dog.

Some people believe a microchip is a GPS of some sort, which isn’t true. This means you can’t “track” your dog with a satellite if he goes missing. We wish!

The other main concerns owners have before they microchip a dog are health-related. As we mentioned above, the procedure is relatively painless and safe. However, there can sometimes be a bit of inflammation around the injection site.

Microchips are, on the whole, very safe. The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) has a database which records adverse reactions to microchips. Of over four million animals microchipped, less than 400 have reported adverse reactions. Most of these reports relate to the microchip moving from the original implant spot.

Pet insurance can cover your microchipping

Did you know you don’t have to pay all the cost for your dog’s microchipping procedure? Pet insurance can help cover it for you.

With a Classic or Deluxe PD Insurance policy, you have the option to add our Wellness Benefits Package. This allows you cover to microchip a dog, get them vaccinated, have him or her desexed, and various other things. There’s even cover for boarding fees!

Microchipping a dog – over to you

Do you have a success story to share about microchipping a dog? Let us know in the comments.

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