My vet keeps trying to sell me on microchipping my dog. I’m concerned that it’s a plot by the government to track me. Is that really necessary, or just another way for the vet to make money and for the government to keep tabs on me?
Paranoid in Shepard Park
I can assure you that (in this case) your vet has only your pet’s best interests in mind (and the government couldn’t care less about what your dog is up to). With growing technology in the veterinary field, new measures of protection for companion animals are now available to owners at a low cost. Microchipping, one of the newest ways to locate and identify lost animals, is growing in popularity and efficiency.
A microchip is a glass encased device that bears an identification number unique to every marked animal. Once the microchip is inserted under the animal’s skin and registered with the devices company, the microchip can be activated with a scanner at a veterinarian’s office or local animal shelter. With no batteries or power source required to activate a microchip, this device will provide a permanent identity for your pet that will last their entire lifetime. Contrary to popular belief, a microchip can’t track your pet–it’s merely an internal source of identification.
Many owners protect and identify their pet with a personalized collar. While this method can certainly help identify your pet, there are many strong advantages in microchipping your animal. For instance, pet collars may fall or slip off, and personalized tags may become unreadable after several years. Microchips do not face any of these challenges and have no chance of being removed, no matter where Fido wanders off to.
Dr. James Barr, Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains the biggest advantage microchipping has over other methods of identifying animals, “The biggest advantage is that a microchip can’t be lost. It allows access to detailed information about the pet and its owner with a quick phone call to the company,” he said. Barr also adds that most microchips can be installed at veterinarian offices and sometimes even spay and neuter clinics. He further explains that the process of installing a microchip is very quick and does not hurt the animal, contrary to what some owners might believe.
Microchips, which are about the size of a grain of rice, can be installed into dogs, cats, horses, ferrets, and most other mammals. Finally, do not forget to register your chip to your name and phone number. If you move to another address or change phone numbers, you will be required to update this information with your microchip’s company. A microchip will only bring your pet home if your contact information is kept up to date.
Although personalized collars have been traditionally used as a method of identification in pets, microchipping is on the rise of becoming the modern solution for lost animals. Even if your pet has been microchipped, providing a collar for your pet is still important for providing quick and easy identification. So, put your fears to rest: The government has “bigger fish to fry” right now than monitoring the whereabouts of your dog. But, rest easy knowing that if your dog gets lost, with a microchip, he has a much better chance of making his way home.
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