Tips on Chips
Sometimes our pets are silly and don’t know what’s good for them. Of all the problem behaviours they could choose to exhibit, escaping and roaming are the most dangerous, especially if the mad mutt or moggie is not properly identified.
Proper identification is the only way to ensure your pet is returned to you if it does roam. While collars with name tags are an essential form of identification, some pets lose their collars, or in some cases they are deliberately removed.
That’s where microchip technology shines. Pets can easily be microchipped and it can be a lifesaver.
What is Microchipping?
When a pet is microchipped, a rice-grained sized silicon chip is injected under the pet’s skin to permanently identify the pet. The identification number is recognised worldwide.
Apart from dogs and cats, other animals such as zoo animals and livestock are commonly microchipped.
If your pet is lost but has been chipped, it can then be identified with a hand-held scanner in a manner similar to the way a bar-code reader scans your shopping. Nearly all animal shelters and pounds and many veterinary surgeries have microchip scanners available.
How is it done?
The microchip is injected under the loose skin between the shoulder blades. This is a simple and generally painless procedure and is quite safe. Your pet’s veterinarian will do this for you.
Your pet will usually not need sedation to have a chip implanted, although sedation or anaesthesia may be beneficial if your pet resents being handled. In many cases, your vet will implant the microchip at the time your pet is desexed.
After implanting, your vet will register the microchip number with a national database that has 24 hour access.
Why Should I Have My Pet Microchipped?
Microchips provide a permanent form of identification that cannot be changed or removed and this identification lasts for the life of the pet
A microchip cannot be lost, unlike a collar or tag
Microchips identify a pet anywhere in Australia and on a 24 hour-per-day basis compared with some council registration systems that only operate during business hours.
Microchips are simple to implant and implantation only needs to be done once in an animal’s life.
Microchipping is inexpensive at $55 and will protect your pet for life.
Valuable animals such as purebred dogs can easily be identified
Similar-looking animals can be uniquely identified by their microchip and this resolves ownership disputes.
In all states including Victoria you are legally required to have your pet microchipped. Should your pet go missing you are far more likely to be reunited if he or she is microchipped.
Disadvantages of microchipping are rare. There are some reports of microchips migrating from the original site of injection but changes have been made to many brands of microchips to resolve this problem.
The advantage of identification tags on collars is that they allow immediate identification by any person who finds the pet, without relying on them having a scanner in their back pocket! Tags and collars can be lost, but a tag is very cheap to purchase and, in many cases, welfare societies supply free tags. Microchips don’t replace tags and collars but supplement them. Indeed, most microchip suppliers provide plastic identification tags along with the microchip so owners get the best of both worlds.