Dogs are microchipped to help locate their owners if the dog was lost. When animal control specialists recover a lost dog and find that he or she has been chipped, they check the number that the chip reports.
This number can be run against a database of pet owners to see who the dog belonged to. In cases of dangerous dogs, they can also be microchipped as a way to deter bad behavior.
By making sure that the dog is registered with a serial number and microchipped to identify them, owners will be more likely to watch their dogs to ensure that they don’t come into contact with people or other animals.
Table of Contents
- Are Dog Microchips Necessary?
- Is it Cruel to Microchip a Dog?
- Does a Microchip Prove Ownership?
- What Happens to Microchip When Dog Dies?
- How Long Does a Microchip Last in a Dog?
- Can a Microchip Be Removed from a Dog?
- What Are the Side Effects of Microchipping a Dog?
- What Happens if You Find a Dog With a Chip?
- Can a Micro Chip Be Removed?
- What Happens if You Don’t Know Your Dog’s Microchip Number?
Are Dog Microchips Necessary?
Microchips are only absolutely necessary in jurisdictions that require their use. Some areas in the state of Hawaii, such as Kauai, have a microchip mandate for dogs and cats.
Outside of this, a handful of counties around the country have passed similar laws. Only nine states and the District of Columbia require pet shelters to scan for microchips, but even in these areas they’re usually not required.
Check your county’s laws to see if there’s a law regarding potentially dangerous dogs, because you may be required to get a microchip if your animal meets those standards. An overwhelming majority of pets won’t, however, even in most of the districts with the strictest laws.
Is it Cruel to Microchip a Dog?
No civil authorities consider microchipping cruel to animals. Several jurisdictions actually require it, so you could not be charged with animal cruelty for microchipping a dog.
That being said, the microchipping procedure has to be performed by a certified veterinarian or other animal health specialist. You cannot do this procedure yourself without a background in animal medicine and the right kind of sterile surgical equipment.
Does a Microchip Prove Ownership?
As long as you’ve made sure to register the serial number associated with your dog’s microchip, it should prove ownership. Public health and safety authorities often keep databases of pet owners, and they’ll check to see if a missing animal matches any of those numbers.
Authorities in only nine states and the Washington DC area are required to do this, so you’ll have to let most of them know that you had your dog chipped before they’ll check.
What Happens to Microchip When Dog Dies?
Implanted microchips are usually less than a ½-inch in size, so they’re normally considered safe to leave in an animal who gets buried after they die. There’s normally no compulsion to remove it, and some animal hospitals will cremate dogs without taking out their microchips.
In this case, the microchip will be turned into ash along with the rest of the animal.
How Long Does a Microchip Last in a Dog?
Microchips will last as long as your dog lives, more than likely. Semiconductors used in microchips are surprisingly durable, so the lifespan of the chip should normally exceed your dog’s lifespan by quite some time.
That means that once you’ve had your dog chipped, you shouldn’t ever have to have it done again. The only situation where you might is if the chip migrates and somehow becomes impacted.
Due to the longevity of microchips, you’ll probably need to submit a few forms to show ownership if you ever sell or give your dog away. That will allow the new owner to register the chip number as theirs.
Can a Microchip Be Removed from a Dog?
Veterinarians can remove a microchip from a dog if desired or if the chip has started to migrate. Sometimes, due to injury or overaggressive behavior, an implanted medical device like a microchip can become dislodged and start to rip through flesh.
If this happens, then it can be removed or re-positioned. This is relatively rare and comparatively few dogs would ever have to have their chips removed.
What Are the Side Effects of Microchipping a Dog?
Migration is the most common problem in spite of its relative rarity, but some other side-effects have been reported at times. According to reports from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate in the United Kingdom, infections can occur if a dog rejects the chip, much the same way a human who gets a body piercing might eventually experience rejection of the foreign matter.
Tissue masses sometimes form around microchips for reasons that are currently poorly understood, but these might have something to do with the growth of melanomas.
What Happens if You Find a Dog With a Chip?
Notify your local animal control team and they’ll come to take a look at the dog. By using an RFID scanner, they can identify the number associated with the chip implanted in the dog.
Assuming that this number is valid, they should be able to identify the pet’s owner. They’ll normally be able to check databases from other jurisdictions as well to see if the dog may have come from another state or territory.
Can a Micro Chip Be Removed?
Once they’re inserted, microchips can later be removed by a quick surgical procedure. Assuming there are no complications, vets can simply make an incision and remove the chip.
Unless your dog rejects the implant, however, there’s usually no reason to have the chip removed.
What Happens if You Don’t Know Your Dog’s Microchip Number?
Animal shelters and veterinarian’s offices will be able to tell the number from the chip, so you can write it down. You will need to provide proof of ownership for this service, however, because it could otherwise look like you’ve stolen the dog.
Bring medical records or adoption papers with you, since these can help to prove that you owned the dog in the first place. Once a vet gives you the registration number from your chip, make sure to keep it in a safe place so you don’t lose it all over again.