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Archive for December, 2010

How Do Pet Microchips Work?

December 7th, 2010 No comments

A Microchip May Save Your Dog's Life

A microchip is a tiny electronic chip encased in a glass cylinder that is about the same size as a grain of rice.  It is injected under the skin of an animal with a hypodermic needle.  The pet microchip is activated by a scanner.  When the scanner passes over the area into which the microchip has been implanted, the radio waves put out by the scanner activate the microchip.  The microchip transmits a unique identification number to the scanner and the number is displayed on a screen.

What Information Does the Dog Microchip Carry?

Most pet microchips currently in use contain only an identification number.  Your pet’s medical record is not contained on the microchip; however, some pet microchip registration databases will allow you to store medical information in the database for a quick reference.  So, for example, if your pet has special medical needs, that information can be made immediately available to the rescuing shelter.

It is important to note that pet microchips are not “tracking” devices.  They are not GPS-enabled to pinpoint where your dog is located when he is lost.

How Will a Microchip Help Me Get My Lost Dog Back?

When a lost dog is found and turned over to a shelter or a veterinary clinic, the shelter or clinic will scan the dog for a microchip.  If a microchip is located, and if the microchip regristry database has the owner’s correct and up-to-date information, the owner can quickly be found and reunited with the lost pet.

It is the pet owner’s responsibility to register the microchip with the chip’s manufacturer.  The owner’s information will be maintained in the manufacturer’s database so that the owner can be contacted in case the pet is lost.  The owner must also update the manufacturer with any changes in contact information, such as new phone numbers or addresses. 

Additionally, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pet owners ask their veterinarian to scan the microchip as part of the pet’s yearly checkup to make sure that the microchip is still in place and working as it should.

Are Pet Microchips Required by Law?

There are no state or federal laws in the United States that require a pet to be microchipped.  In fact, at this time, there are no single national standards for pet microchips or microchip scanners.  Some other countries, however, do require or will soon require that pets be implanted with the ISO standard 134.2 kHz microchip.  If you are planning to relocate or travel to another country with your pet, you will need to do some research to learn about the destination country’s pet microchip requirements.

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Microchipping Your Dog: Does Your Dog Need Two Microchips?

December 6th, 2010 12 comments

Microchipping Your Dog May Save His Life if He Gets Lost

Microchipping your dog may save her life if she gets lost.  But because there is no uniform standard for microchips in the U.S., many microchip scanners are incompatible with some microchips.  This article discusses the two main types of microchips and whether it would be a good idea to have both microchip implants installed in your dog.

Two Main Types of Pet Microchip

Currently, dogs in the United States who have received microchip implants have one of two types based on radio frequency.  Most pets have been implanted with a microchip with a frequency of 125 kHz.  Many other countries have transitioned from using pet microchips at 125 kHz to the ISO standard microchip with a frequency of 134.2 kHz.

Many animal shelters in the U.S. still use the 125 kHz scanner.  These scanners do not detect or read any 134.2 kHz ISO microchip.  So, it might make sense to simply have one’s pet implanted with the 125 kHz chip.

However, it is predicted that the U.S. will begin moving toward the ISO standard microchip in the future.  And if you are planning on traveling to other countries such as Canada or countries in Europe, you will need to have the ISO standard 134.2 kHz pet microchip for your dog. 

Therefore, it might be a good idea to have both types of microchips implanted into your dog.  In fact, Banfield Pet Hospital, the largest general veterinary practice for pets in the world, has recommended implanting both types of microchips.  With both types of microchip implanted, the pet would be protected whichever type of scanner a shelter was using. The non-ISO standard, 125 kHz microchip and the 134.2 kHz microchip will not interfere with each other.  If your dog is scanned with a universal, or dual-read scanner, it will detect one or both microchips.  And if a scanner that reads only 125 kHz microchips is used, of course only the 125 kHz microchip will be detected.

Additional Resource:  How Do Pet Microchips Work?

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